Sartre on the Authenticity, Required if My Choices are to Be Truly Mine

Filozofia 66:879-889 (2011)
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My making choices and acting on those choices in a way that might count as my being free would seem to require that those choices are truly my choices. Furthermore, for my choices to be truly mine, it would seem that these choices must reflect my true self. So it seems that choosing and acting freely depends in a robust sense on such choosing and acting being authentic. Yet the concept of authenticity seems problematic. What or where is that true self which would be the basis for authentic choosing, acting and living? Perhaps there is no such true self. This problem is central to the philosophies of both Sartre and Foucault. For the philosophers freedom authenticity or self-hood were central. The paper aims to show that, in spite of Foucault’s criticism, Sartre does not fall back on the idea of a true or deep self that is given to us. Sartre can appeal to the idea of authenticity without holding on such a dubious construct as a given, true self. Therefore the exploration of bad faith, good faith and authenticity in Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, where the problem is posed but left unresolved, is necessary. Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew, where a more concrete problem – the problem of authentically identifying oneself with a group of human beings − actually opens up a way how to overcome the problem of authenticity



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David Weberman
Central European University

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