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By Somogy Varga

Authenticity has develop into a frequent moral perfect that represents a manner of facing normative gaps in modern existence. This excellent means that one may be real to oneself and lead a existence expressive of what one takes oneself to be. even if, many modern thinkers have mentioned that the best of authenticity has more and more become a type of aestheticism and egoistic self-indulgence. In his publication, Varga systematically constructs a severe inspiration of authenticity that takes under consideration the reciprocal shaping of capitalism and the best of authenticity. Drawing on varied traditions in serious social thought, ethical philosophy and phenomenology, Varga builds an idea of authenticity which could make intelligible a number of problematical and in all probability hard practices of the self.

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Extra resources for Authenticity as an Ethical Ideal

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The focus of social philosophical inquiry shifted from exploring the conditions of a stable civil order to exploring the conditions of a good life and self-realization within such an order. With this theoretical change of stance, Rousseau paved the way towards the development of a new approach to social philosophy. Unlike political philosophy, such social philosophy would no longer seek out to determine the conditions of a correct or just social order, but instead would attempt to identify the limitations that new forms of sociality imposed on human self-realization (Honneth 2007a: 5).

As he clearly states, “authenticity is not the enemy of demands that emanate from beyond the self; it presupposes such demands” (Taylor 1991: 41). It cannot be up to me to decide what is important, since this would be self-defeating. Instead, whatever is important for me must connect to an inter-subjective notion of the good, wherefrom a good part of its normative force lastly emanates. In this sense, authenticity simply requires maintaining bonds to collective questions of worth that point beyond one’s own preferences.

Consumers seek authentic products for self-expression because they feel that everything has become saturated with “toxic levels of inauthenticity” (Gilmore and Pine 2007: 43). It is important to note that even in its manifestation in consumption, the notion of authenticity does not just refer to quality, or to the guarantee that a product lives up to its promises or that it really originates from a special geographic location. ’ In support of this, David Chidester (2005: 10) elucidates the iniquitousness of a concept authenticity in American popular culture, pointing out that it still possesses a dimension that bears traces of transcendence.

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Authenticity as an Ethical Ideal by Somogy Varga


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