Refuting Polonius: Sincerity, Authenticity, and 'Shtick'

Philosophical Papers 40 (2):207 - 231 (2011)
Abstract
Abstract In this paper I probe the kinds of views about selfhood that inform our understanding of sincerity and authenticity and argue that the terms have separate, but related, boundaries. Borrowing Harry Frankfurt's notion of wholeheartedness, I argue that authenticity is a form of alignment or consistency within the self, which requires self-knowledge and intentionality in order to be actualized. Sincerity involves representing oneself truthfully to others but does not depend on the presence of authenticity. I contrast sincerity and authenticity in depth using literary examples. In the final section, I call into question the assumptions underwriting the distinction between sincerity and authenticity and introduce the category of ?shtick,? which plays with both. I conclude that, although authenticity and sincerity stand in a complex relation to one another, that relation is neither one of synonymity, as might have been the case in the Renaissance, nor of sufficient condition, as Polonius famously claims
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References found in this work BETA
Theodor W. Adorno (1973). The Jargon of Authenticity. Evanston, Ill.,Northwestern University Press.

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