Kinds of Authenticity

Philosophy Compass 11 (10):609-618 (2016)
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The concept of authenticity plays an important role in how people reason about objects, other people, and themselves. However, despite a great deal of academic interest in this concept, to date, the precise meaning of the term, authenticity, has remained somewhat elusive. This paper reviews the various definitions of authenticity that have been proposed in the literature and identifies areas of convergence. We then outline a novel framework that organizes the existing definitions of authenticity along two key dimensions: describing the type of entity that is evaluated and describing the source of information that is consulted. We argue that this convergence across a number of papers, and more importantly, across a number of domains, reflects significant progress in articulating the meaning of authenticity. We conclude by suggesting new avenues for research in this area, with particular attention toward psychological process.



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