Authenticity

Edited by Nick Smyth (Fordham University, Fordham University)
About this topic
Summary Authenticity is the distinctive ethical ideal of modern western societies.  Few people raised in the West will not, at some point in their lives, encounter the injunction: "be true to yourself".  However, it is not at all clear what this ideal amounts to, and philosophers in both Analytic and Continental traditions have been increasingly concerned to make sense of it. One descriptive philosophical puzzle concerns the ontological status of this 'self' to which the authentic person is true.  Perhaps the most important normative question involves the relation of the authentic person to his or her community, which, on some conceptions of authenticity, appears troublingly self-centred or individualistic.  While the literature contains several interesting answers to these (and many other) questions, it is probably fair to say that no one conception of authenticity enjoys widespread acceptance by contemporary philosophers.
Introductions Trilling 1973; Guignon 2004; Adorno 1973; Taylor 1992.
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  1. added 2020-05-06
    L'authenticité.Alexandre Erler - 2018 - In Julien A. Deonna & Emma Tieffenbach (eds.), Petit Traité des Valeurs. Paris, France: pp. 40-49.
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  2. added 2019-09-26
    The Pursuit of an Authentic Philosophy: Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and the Everyday.David Egan - 2019 - Oxford University Press.
    David Egan offers an original comparative study of Wittgenstein and Heidegger, identifying a similar concern with authenticity in their work. By examining their divergent ideas on how to exist and philosophize authentically, Egan demonstrates Wittgenstein and Heidegger's continued relevance to contemporary thought in a novel way.
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  3. added 2019-09-21
    Authenticity and Historicity.Peter Lucas - 2014 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 21 (3):233-235.
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  4. added 2019-08-13
    African Communitarianism and Difference.Thaddeus Metz - 2020 - In Elvis Imafidon (ed.), Handbook of the African Philosophy of Difference. Springer. pp. 31-51.
    There has been the recurrsent suspicion that community, harmony, cohesion, and similar relational goods as understood in the African ethical tradition threaten to occlude difference. Often, it has been Western defenders of liberty who have raised the concern that these characteristically sub-Saharan values fail to account adequately for individuality, although some contemporary African thinkers have expressed the same concern. In this chapter, I provide a certain understanding of the sub-Saharan value of communal relationship and demonstrate that it entails a substantial (...)
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  5. added 2019-06-06
    Nature Religion and the Ethics of Authenticity: “I Won’T Speak for All of You”.Chris Klassen - 2011 - Environmental Ethics 33 (3):295-305.
    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, (...)
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    Sartrean Authenticity: The Epistemological and Ontological Bases of Sartrean Ethics.Tatjana Schönwälder-Kuntze - 2011 - Sartre Studies International 17 (2):60-80.
    In general, the Sartrean concept of the subject as "being-for-self" and "being-for-others" is read as if Sartre had sketched these structures as given "a priori" and therefore as unalterable . One of the consequences of this interpretation lies in calling Sartre's theory contradictory, especially with regard to his ethics, because of the assumption that, based on this concept, changing the inauthentic structures of the subject into authentic ones would be impossible. Contrary to this interpretation, I argue that Sartre's philosophical theory (...)
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  7. added 2019-06-06
    In Search of Authenticity and Personality: Nietzsche on the Purifications of Philosophy.Keith Ansell-Pearson - 2010 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 84 (2):283-312.
    Throughout Nietzsche’s writings we find discussion of various human maladies and sicknesses, such as the historical malady and decadence, along withvarious conceptions of a possible cure or therapy. In this essay I argue that Nietzsche’s conception of philosophy’s therapeutic role centres on the protection and promotion of authenticity and explore his preoccupation with authentic existence in each one of his three main intellectual periods. After an opening section on therapeia and paideia in Nietzsche, I focus first on writings from his (...)
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  8. added 2019-06-06
    Authenticity and Diversity: A Comparative Reading of Charles Taylor and Martin Heidegger.Edward Sherman - 2005 - Dialogue 44 (1):145-160.
    ABSTRACT: Authenticity and diversity have both become catch words in contemporary North Atlantic societies. What has not, however, been widely explored is the interrelation ofthese two ideas. To this end, the present article takes up the sometime convergent, sometime divergent writings of Charles Taylor and Martin Heidegger, drawing out their thoughts on authenticity and showing how they can serve as a ground for a new form of cultural diversity. For both, authentic being-in-the-world affords us access to our own deep reservoir (...)
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  9. added 2019-06-06
    Prudence and Authenticity: Intrapersonal Conflicts of Value.David O. Brink - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (2):215-245.
    Prudence and authenticity are sometimes seen as rival virtues. Prudence,as traditionally conceived, is temporally neutral. It attaches no intrinsic significance to the temporal location of benefits or harms within the agent’s life; the prudent agent should be equally concerned about all parts of her life. But people’s values and ideals often change over time, sometimes in predictable ways, as when middle age and parenthood often temporize youthful radicalism or spontaneity with concerns for comfort,security, and predictability. In situations involving diachronic, intrapersonal (...)
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    The Virtues of Authenticity: A Kierkegaardian Essay in Moral Psychology.Rick Anthony Furtak - 2003 - International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (4):423-438.
    Discussions of the concept of authenticity often fail to define the conditions of an appropriate emotional orientation toward the world. With a more solid philosophical understanding of emotion, it should be possible to define more precisely the necessary conditions of emotional authenticity. Against this background, I interpret Kierkegaard’s Either/Or as a narrative text that suggests a moral psychology of emotion that points toward the development of a better way of thinking about the ethics of authenticity. In the process, I also (...)
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  11. added 2019-06-06
    In Search of Authenticity: From Kierkegaard to Camus. [REVIEW]Joseph S. Catalano - 2000 - International Studies in Philosophy 32 (2):142-143.
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  12. added 2019-06-06
    Authority, Autonomy, Authenticity: An Etiological Understanding.Charles W. Harvey - 1997 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 4 (1/2):10-15.
    This essay attempts to understand the search for authenticity in terms of the breakdown of authority in the modern world. The sense of autonomy, I argue, emerges from the need to choose the authorities one will accept. The ever-increasing difficulty of choosing from among authorities is internalized and is experienced as a difficulty of choosing, or “finding” oneself. The shattered authorities on the outside become a fragmented self on the inside. The search for the authentic self, then, is the search (...)
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  13. added 2019-06-06
    Language, Meaning, and Ethics: A Phenomenological Correlation of Morality and Self-Conscious Signification.James B. Sauer - 1997 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 4 (1/2):48-55.
    This paper takes up an underdeveloped argument of Charles Taylor that linguisticality is constitutive of moral agency. Taylor’s position is part of a set of contemporary arguments that language, especially as dialogue or discourse, is the normative framework which grounds or validates fundamental norms or values. Taylor’s contribution to this “dialogical turn” is substantial and innovative, but it is not without weakness. Rather than deal with all the issues involved in this dialogical turn, I argue just that language does ground (...)
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  14. added 2019-06-06
    The Foundation and Structure of Sartrean Ethics. [REVIEW]R. F. T. - 1981 - Review of Metaphysics 35 (1):111-112.
    Disturbed by the fact that most commentators and anthologists never bother to inquire seriously whether Sartre's admittedly influential ethics is rationally defensible, Anderson intends to demonstrate that a Sartrean ethics is coherent and plausible, "once certain initial choices are made". These elective assumptions are that human choice is the sole source of moral value and that one values a meaningful or justified life and prizes specifically logic and consistency. Though scarcely irrational "choices," they do raise the question of the presumed (...)
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  15. added 2019-06-06
    Eclipse of the Self: The Development of Heidegger’s Concept of Authenticity. [REVIEW]Eugene G. Newman - 1981 - Philosophical Topics 12 (3):241-249.
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  16. added 2019-06-06
    David of Augsburg's Paternoster and the Authenticity of His German Works. Francis Mary Schwab.Humphrey Milnes - 1973 - Speculum 48 (4):788-789.
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  17. added 2019-05-17
    Nochmals the Authenticity of Odyssey 10.475–9.M. J. Apthorp - 1992 - Classical Quarterly 42 (1):270-271.
    It is gratifying to see the authenticity of Od. 10.475–9 defended anew by the late, Professor Alfred Heubeck; in 1974 I put forward a rather similar defence of the lines myself. However, Heubeck's correct conclusion – that the passage is genuine – stands in startling contrast to some gross exaggerations, in both the Italian and the English versions of his work, about the extent of the manuscript evidence against the passage.
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  18. added 2019-04-11
    The Inevitability of Inauthenticity: Bernard Williams on Practical Alienation.Nick Smyth - 2018 - In Sophie Grace Chappell & Marcel van Ackeren (eds.), Ethics Beyond the Limits: New Essays on Bernard Williams' Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. New York: Routledge.
  19. added 2019-03-19
    Authenticity.Alexandre Erler - 2014 - In Bruce Jennings (ed.), Bioethics (4th edition). Farmington Hills, MI, USA:
    Entry on "Authenticity" for the fourth edition of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, edited by Bruce Jennings. Discusses the concept in the context of end-of-life decision-making, human enhancement, and the treatment of mental disorder.
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  20. added 2019-01-30
    Managing Authenticity: Mission Impossible?Nick Wilson - 2014 - Journal of Critical Realism 13 (3):286-303.
    Despite its central focus on human freedom and individual and social emancipation, critical realism has remained surprisingly quiet on the subject of authenticity. Drawing on a review of critical realist metatheory, and a study of authentic performance in the illuminating cultural context of Early Music, this paper seeks to address this gap by exploring the significance of authenticity in today's morphogenetic society. Real authenticity is introduced as the universal human capacity to reflexively manage the inherent contradictions that arise between and (...)
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  21. added 2019-01-18
    A Non-Ideal Authenticity-Based Conceptualization of Personal Autonomy.Jesper Ahlin Marceta - 2019 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (3):387-395.
    Respect for autonomy is a central moral principle in bioethics. The concept of autonomy can be construed in various ways. Under the non-ideal conceptualization proposed by Beauchamp and Childress, everyday choices of generally competent persons are autonomous to the extent that they are intentional and are made with understanding and without controlling influences. It is sometimes suggested that authenticity is important to personal autonomy, so that inauthenticity prevents otherwise autonomous persons from making autonomous decisions. Building from Beauchamp and Childress’s theory, (...)
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  22. added 2019-01-18
    The Impossibility of Reliably Determining the Authenticity of Desires: Implications for Informed Consent.Jesper Ahlin - 2018 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 21 (1):43-50.
    It is sometimes argued that autonomous decision-making requires that the decision-maker’s desires are authentic, i.e., “genuine,” “truly her own,” “not out of character,” or similar. In this article, it is argued that a method to reliably determine the authenticity (or inauthenticity) of a desire cannot be developed. A taxonomy of characteristics displayed by different theories of authenticity is introduced and applied to evaluate such theories categorically, in contrast to the prior approach of treating them individually. The conclusion is drawn that, (...)
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  23. added 2019-01-18
    What Justifies Judgments of Inauthenticity?Jesper Ahlin - 2018 - HEC Forum 30 (4):361-377.
    The notion of authenticity, i.e., being “genuine,” “real,” or “true to oneself,” is sometimes held as critical to a person’s autonomy, so that inauthenticity prevents the person from making autonomous decisions or leading an autonomous life. It has been pointed out that authenticity is difficult to observe in others. Therefore, judgments of inauthenticity have been found inadequate to underpin paternalistic interventions, among other things. This article delineates what justifies judgments of inauthenticity. It is argued that for persons who wish to (...)
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  24. added 2019-01-18
    The Theory and Practice of Autonomy.Gerald Dworkin - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.
    This important new book develops a new concept of autonomy. The notion of autonomy has emerged as central to contemporary moral and political philosophy, particularly in the area of applied ethics. professor Dworkin examines the nature and value of autonomy and uses the concept to analyse various practical moral issues such as proxy consent in the medical context, paternalism, and entrapment by law enforcement officials.
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  25. added 2019-01-18
    Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
    It is my view that one essential difference between persons and other creatures is to be found in the structure of a person's will. Besides wanting and choosing and being moved to do this or that, men may also want to have certain desires and motives. They are capable of wanting to be different, in their preferences and purposes, from what they are. Many animals appear to have the capacity for what I shall call "first-order desires" or "desires of the (...)
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  26. added 2018-10-26
    The Epistemology of the Question of Authenticity, in Place of Strategic Essentialism.Emily S. Lee - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (2):258--279.
    The question of authenticity centers in the lives of women of color to invite and restrict their representative roles. For this reason, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Uma Narayan advocate responding with strategic essentialism. This paper argues against such a strategy and proposes an epistemic understanding of the question of authentic- ity. The question stems from a kernel of truth—the connection between experience and knowledge. But a coherence theory of knowledge better captures the sociality and the holism of experience and knowledge.
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  27. added 2018-09-21
    Zwischen Autonomie und Natürlichkeit. Der Begriff der Authentizität und die bioethische Debatte um das Neuro-Enhancement.Jon Leefmann - 2017 - Münster, Deutschland: Mentis.
    Hat die subjektive Erfahrung, uns selbst und anderen als eine bestimmte Person zu erscheinen, eine ethische Orientierungsfunktion? Und wenn ja, was geschieht, wenn wir uns auf eine Weise verändern, die uns an der Kontinuität dieser Erfahrung zweifeln lässt? Ausgehend von Schilderungen von Nicht-Authentizitäts-Erfahrungen wird in diesem Buch der Versuch unternommen, einen Begriff personaler Authentizität zu rekonstruieren, der für Fragen der angewandten Ethik handhabbar ist. Dabei verbindet das Buch auf innovative Weise zwei Diskussionsstränge aus der Bioethik und der praktischen Philosophie: die (...)
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  28. added 2018-08-20
    Experimental Investigations of #Authenticity Online.Marc Cheong - manuscript
    The concept of 'authenticity' is highly valued on social media sites (SMSes), despite its ambiguous nature and definition. One interpretation of 'authenticity' by media scholars is a human's congruence with online portrayals of themselves (e.g. posting spontaneous photographs from their lives, or using real biodata online). For marketers and 'influencers', these patterns of behaviour can achieve certain gains: sales for a business, or success of a campaign. For existentialist philosophers, using 'authenticity' as a means to an end is against its (...)
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  29. added 2018-07-28
    Authenticity in Kurosawa.Luc Bovens - 1999 - Journal of Value Inquiry 33 (2):227-237.
    Much of the contemporary philosophical literature on authenticity is secondary work on figures like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, and Camus. I would like to find a different voice by searching for inspiration in the artistic expression that the theme of authenticity has found in the oeuvre of the Japanese film-maker Akira Kurosawa. To be authentic is to be true to ourselves. But what is it to be true to ourselves? The locution suggests that authenticity has something to do with the (...)
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  30. added 2018-04-10
    Authenticity and the Aesthetic Experience of History.Erich Hatala Matthes - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):649-657.
    In this paper, I argue that norms of artistic and aesthetic authenticity that prioritize material origins foreclose on broader opportunities for aesthetic experience: particularly, for the aesthetic experience of history. I focus on Carolyn Korsmeyer’s recent articles in defense of the aesthetic value of genuineness and argue that her rejection of the aesthetic significance of historical value is mistaken. Rather, I argue that recognizing the aesthetic significance of historical value points the way towards rethinking the dominance of the very norms (...)
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  31. added 2018-04-04
    To Be or Not to Be Authentic. In Defence of Authenticity as an Ethical Ideal.Katharina Bauer - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):567-580.
    It has recently been pointed out that the cloudiness of the concept of authenticity as well as inflated ideologies of the ‘true self’ provide good reasons to criticize theories and ideals of authenticity. Nevertheless, there are also good reasons to defend an ethical ideal of authenticity, not least because of its critical and oppositional force, which is directed against experiences of self-abandonment and self-alienation. I will argue for an elaborated ethical ideal of authenticity: the ambitious ideal of a continuous self-reflective (...)
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  32. added 2018-04-04
    Practical Necessity and Personality.Katharina Bauer - 2016 - In Jonathan Webber & Alberto Masala (eds.), From Personality to Virtue. Essays in the Philosophy of Character. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 81-105.
    This paper argues that certain expressions of practical necessity – like ‘I have to do this, I do not have a choice’ or ‘Here I stand, I can do no other’ – allow an insight into deep structures of personality and self-understanding. They point at a limit where someone would have to ‘become another person’ (in his own view), if he was forced to an alternative decision, because of neglecting ground-projects and convictions, which are essential for his self-conception. This limit (...)
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  33. added 2018-03-28
    Taking Responsibility for Ourselves: A Kierkegaardian Account of the Freedom-Relevant Conditions Necessary for the Cultivation of Character.Paul E. Carron - 2011 - Dissertation, Baylor University
    What are the freedom-relevant conditions necessary for someone to be a morally responsible person? I examine several key authors beginning with Harry Frankfurt that have contributed to this debate in recent years, and then look back to the writings or Søren Kierkegaard to provide a solution to the debate. In this project I investigate the claims of semi-compatibilism and argue that while its proponents have identified a fundamental question concerning free will and moral responsibility—namely, that the agential properties necessary for (...)
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  34. added 2018-01-17
    Sociologia de la Autenticidad y la Simulacion Seguido de Otros Ensayos.Cayetano Betancur - 1955 - [Ministerio de Educacion Nacional, Division de Extension Cultural].
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  35. added 2017-08-11
    The Need for Authenticity-Based Autonomy in Medical Ethics.Lucie White - 2018 - HEC Forum 30 (3):191-209.
    The notion of respect for autonomy dominates bioethical discussion, though what qualifies precisely as autonomous action is notoriously elusive. In recent decades, the notion of autonomy in medical contexts has often been defined in opposition to the notion of autonomy favoured by theoretical philosophers. Where many contemporary theoretical accounts of autonomy place emphasis on a condition of “authenticity”, the special relation a desire must have to the self, bioethicists often regard such a focus as irrelevant to the concerns of medical (...)
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  36. added 2017-07-07
    Pleasure and its Modifications: Stephan Witasek and the Aesthetics of the Grazer Schule.Barry Smith - 1996 - Axiomathes 7 (1-2):203-232.
    The most obvious varieties of mental phenomena directed to non- existent objects occur in our experiences of works of art. The task of applying the Meinongian ontology of the non-existent to the working out of a theory of aesthetic phenomena was however carried out not by Meinong by his disciple Stephan Witasek in his Grundzüge der allgemeinen Ästhetik of 1904. Witasek shows in detail how our feelings undergo certain sorts of structural modifications when they are directed towards what does not (...)
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  37. added 2017-03-02
    We Live Beyond Any Tale That We Happen to Enact.Galen Strawson - 2012 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 18 (1):73-90.
  38. added 2017-02-15
    Myth and Authenticity: Deciphering the Chu Gong Ni Bell Inscription.Constance A. Cook - 1993 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 113 (4):539-550.
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  39. added 2017-02-14
    Researching with and for Young Children: Congruence and Authenticity in Methodology.Danielle J. Boone, Lisa C. Ehrich & John Lidstone - 2009 - Encyclopaideia 13 (25):45-62.
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  40. added 2017-02-14
    Authentic Learning Beyond Tiie Ciassroom.Peter Hobart - 2005 - Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 13 (1):13.
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  41. added 2017-02-13
    Jordanes's "Getica" and the Disputed Authenticity of Gothic Origins From Scandinavia.Walter Goffart - 2005 - Speculum 80 (2):379-398.
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  42. added 2017-02-09
    Blattberg, Charles. From Pluralist to Patriotic Politics: Putting Practice First.Michael S. Kochin - 2002 - Review of Metaphysics 55 (3):618-620.
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  43. added 2017-02-09
    Sincerity and Truth: Essays on Arnauld, Bayle and Toleration.Kenneth R. Weinstein - 1990 - Review of Metaphysics 43 (3):641-642.
    Kilcullen argues that Pierre Bayle's Philosophical Commentary on the Words of the Gospel: 'Compel Them to Enter In' presents the best case extant for religious toleration. The first two essays analyze the Commentary in a seventeenth-century theological context; the final three essays examine related current philosophical themes in the works of, among others, Feinberg, Peirce, and Rawls. While the author admits that his essays--focused on the dilemmas arising out of epistemological uncertainty--may be too wide-ranging for some readers, this work, with (...)
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  44. added 2017-02-08
    Authentic Performance.Stan Godlovitch - 1988 - The Monist 71 (2):258-277.
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  45. added 2017-02-08
    Hadrian's Farewell to Life: Some Arguments for Authenticity.Barry Baldwin - 1970 - Classical Quarterly 20 (02):372-.
    T. D. Barnes has recently impugned the authenticity of these verses and calls for a defence of their genuineness. Although I agree with Fergus Millar that ‘the problem of the Historia Augusta is one into which sane men refrain from entering’,2 yet I think we can at least counter Barnes's objections. Barnes musters four arguments which he naturally calls ‘quite conclusive’. He first points out that the verses are omitted in the epitome of Dio by Xiphilinus, who is our sole (...)
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  46. added 2017-02-01
    True to Oneself.Jordan Howard Sobel - 1993 - Erkenntnis 38 (1):57 - 85.
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  47. added 2017-01-29
    Authenticity and Imitation. On the Role of Moral Exemplarity in Anti-Climacus’ Ethics.Rob Compaijen - 2011 - Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook:341-364.
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  48. added 2017-01-29
    Authenticity Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life.David Boyle - 2003
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  49. added 2017-01-29
    In Search of Authenticity the Formation of Folklore Studies.Regina Bendix - 1997
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  50. added 2017-01-29
    Authenticity in the Visual Arts the Identity of the Work and the Identity of the Artist.Katherine Tsocha - 1996
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