Authenticity, Self-fulfillment, and Self-acknowledgment
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The philosophical literature on personal authenticity is (as many philosophical literatures admittedly are) deeply fraught and riddled with controversy. This may be in part due to how often talk of authenticity is bound up, and at times confused, with other similar concepts (e.g., sincerity and, most prominently, autonomy); it is also most likely due to the variety of senses in which the concept of authenticity is conceived, and to the variety of theoretical goals and agendas its various conceptions are devised to serve. As is often the case in analytic philosophy, navigating the authenticity literature involves making careful distinctions between these various senses. However, sometimes an act of synthesis, of integrating multiple senses together into a single account, is an effective way of filling out a conceptual picture that may remain otherwise incomplete or impoverished in some way.
In this paper I will focus on one particular, prominent sense in which authenticity has been...
KeywordsStrong Evaluation Weak Evaluation Personal Fittingness Epistemic Responsibility Epistemic Conception
I would like to thank all of those in attendance at my presentation of an abridged version of this paper at the APA Pacific Division Meeting in April 2015, and those attending another presentation of a slightly different abridged version at California State University (Long Beach) later that same month. The comments and discussion in both Q&A sessions were very helpful for my revisions to this draft. In particular I would like to thank Rachel Cristy (Princeton University) for her commentary at the former, and Adrienne Martin (Claremont McKenna College) for her suggestions at the latter. I am indebted to Jonathan Weinberg (University of Arizona), for expertly advising the initial development of my work on authenticity, and to the philosophy department of Seattle Pacific University, for reading and discussing with me a late draft of the paper. I would also like to thank Marcia Baron, Allen Wood, and Sandra Lynn Shapshay (all Indiana University, Bloomington) for reading drafts of the paper, and Katherine Wiley and Hunter Rings for their very helpful suggestions and conversations.