Authenticity and Historicity

Lucas, Peter orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5391-3087 (2014) Authenticity and Historicity. Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 21 (3). pp. 233-235. ISSN 1071-6076

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Erler and Hope conclude that the concept of authenticity is a rich one, with a wide variety of promising applications in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Nevertheless, they acknowledge that there are tensions within the concept—most notably, between the ‘true self’ account due to Charles Taylor, and accounts due to DeGrazia and others, which put more emphasis on self-creation and autonomy. If, in invoking the concept, a patient might either be trying to capture something about the importance of self-creation, or trying to capture something about the importance of discovering/maintaining her true self, or trying to avoid self-deception, or trying to work out what she really values (Taylor 1991, 36), we might reasonably wonder how much value such an endlessly flexible concept can really have. A more integrated (and thus more useful) concept of authenticity can be found in the tradition of post-Kantian European philosophy with which the concept originates. In particular, it is with reference to the primarily Hegelian notion of the historicity of the self that the real integrity of the concept can be grasped.

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