Against Authenticity

Against Authenticity : Why You Shouldn't be Yourself

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"Be true to yourself"-it is a dictum so ubiquitous that it can seem like both philosophical wisdom and an empty truism. Should we aspire to an ideal of living authentically? What does it mean to be true to yourself? Against Authenticity: Why You Shouldn't Be Yourself is a philosophical exploration and critique of the ideal of authenticity. Simon Feldman argues that if being true to ourselves is a matter of maintaining a strong will, being psychologically independent, achieving self-knowledge, or being morally conscientious, then the best lives we can lead should be expected to involve substantial inauthenticity. Feldman suggests that various construals of the ideal of authenticity presuppose metaphysically confused notions of the self (for example, that there is a determinate "true self") and that under the guise of indisputable wisdom the ideal perpetuates both objectionably relativistic as well as reactionary moral thinking. Feldman concludes that the ideal of authenticity is one that we would be better off abandoning, independent of our other moral or ethical commitments. With implications for every reader's conception of authenticity and identity, Against Authenticity is an exciting challenge for students and scholars of ethics, metaethics, metaphysics, and moral more

Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 22.86mm | 453.59g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0739182005
  • 9780739182000

About Simon Feldman

Simon Feldman is associate professor of philosophy at Connecticut more

Review quote

In this accessible work of philosophy, Feldman makes cogent arguments for the view that you should be yourself only if you are a good and reasonable person - otherwise, you should be someone else. Of interest to anyone working on the subject, Against Authenticity should also be required reading for any college student who thinks he or she is very 'deep.' -- Nomy Arpaly, Brown University Feldman's book is, quite simply, the clearest, most interesting book on authenticity in years. Its compelling arguments against the misuses of the concept of "being true to yourself" in ethical thought should be of deep interest to philosophers and psychologists alike. -- Michael Lynch, University of Connecticut Humanities Instituteshow more

Table of contents

Introduction. The Ideal of Authenticity Chapter 1. The Wellbeing Account of the Ideal of Authenticity Chapter 2. The Rationality Account of the Ideal of Authenticity Chapter 3. The Moral Account of the Ideal of Authenticity Chapter 4. Bad Advice: Action-Guiding Rules and the Nature of Normative Failure Chapter 5. Ethics Without Authenticity: Looking Outward Not Inshow more

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