Volume 33, Issue 3, Fall 2011
Nature Religion and the Ethics of Authenticity
“I Won’t Speak for All of You”
In The Ethics of Authenticity, Charles Taylor speaks of the malaises of modernity in which individualism and authenticity lose their moral force by becoming simply a type of relativism and/or soft despotism. In contrast, Taylor suggests that individualism and authenticity need to be understood as holding moral salience through the dialogical nature of human life and the external horizons of meaning necessary to the very formulation of the authentic self. Individual choice only makes sense when some choices are more socially, politically, and/or ethically valuable than others. Taylor’s discussion of the ethics of authenticity can be applied to the religious movement of contemporary Paganism and the marked hesitation on the part of Pagans to claim any expected responsibility on the part of other Pagans toward nature and/or the environment.