Chapter

Authenticity and the Examined Life

Jerome Neu

in On Loving Our Enemies

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199862986
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949762 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199862986.003.0003
Authenticity and the Examined Life

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This chapter explores the authenticity of selves, desires, and values, and emotions. We are torn in different directions by ideals of authenticity. While many insist we should be who we are, that we ought to act on our real desires, inclinations, and attitudes, and thus express our true natures, the same people typically believe that there are other ideals that ought to be striven for and respected—ideals that would have us change or suppress those aspects of our nature that are violent, sadistic, cruel, bigoted, nasty, envious, and in other ways unseemly, harmful, or immoral. So if we are to express our true natures, is that to be only after we have pruned them in accord with social and personal norms? Or are norms (some? all?) themselves to be distinguished as either true or false, so that only those which are true are to be retained as a part of the self that is to be expressed and used to guide the shaping and expression of other aspects of the self?

Keywords: authenticity; true self; false self; desires; values; emotions

Chapter.  11951 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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