Ethically Authentic: Escaping Egoism Through Relational Authenticity

Title: Ethically Authentic: Escaping Egoism Through Relational Authenticity
Authors: Malo-Fletcher, Natalie
Date: 2011
Abstract: Philosophers who show interest in authenticity tend to narrowly focus on its capacity to help people evade conformity and affirm individuality, a simplistic reduction that neglects authenticity’s moral potential and gives credence to the many critics who dismiss it as a euphemism for excessive individualism. Yet when conceived ethically, authenticity can also allow for worthy human flourishing without falling prey to conformity’s opposite extreme—egoism. This thesis proposes a relational conception of authenticity that can help prevent the often destructive excess of egoism while also offsetting the undesirable deficiency of heteronomy, concertedly moving agents towards socially responsible living. It demonstrates how authenticity necessarily has ethical dimensions when rooted in existentialist and dialogical frameworks. It also defines egoism as a form of self-deception rooted in flawed logic that cannot be considered “authentic” by relational standards. Relational authenticity recognizes the interpersonal relationships and social engagements that imbue meaning into agents’ lives, fostering a balance between personal ambitions and social obligations, and enabling more consistently moral lifestyles.
CollectionThèses, 2009 - // Theses, 2009 -