Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Research Institute for Contemporary Philosophy of Life, Osaka Prefecture University


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Ethical Selves
: A Sketch for a Theory of Relational Authenticity

Natalie Fletcher

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.3, No.1 (January 2013):83-96



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 relationally, authenticity can also allow for worthy human flourishing without falling prey to conformity’s opposite extreme—egoism. This essay proposes a sketch for 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.

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