Volume 25, 2018
Prolegomena to a Historical Condition for Authenticity
To conclude that certain desires are authentic, because simply they are outcomes of the current beliefs and values of the individual, without examining in which way these were formed seems inadequate to provide the assurance of authenticity. This paper maintains that contemporary theories of autonomy, which also discuss authenticity, including the ones of Frankfurt and Dworkin based on identification, seem insufficient and a conception closer to Christman and Mele’s models, which are based on historical conditions, should be explored. However, in contrast to the latter, it is argued that we should not only trust rationality and reflective thinking in distinguishing which are the authentic desires, values and beliefs, but also other properties of ours like intuition, inclinations and drives. Furthermore, it is suggested that a broader understanding of the conception of the agent’s resistance is required. Therefore, the aim of this essay is to conduct an outline of a historical condition for authenticity which will be able to overcome the weaknesses of both the former and the latter conceptions mentioned. This condition should be externalist, anti-intellectualist, not necessarily rationalist and content neutral.