In Verena Mayer & Mikko Salmela (eds.), Emotions, Ethics, and Authenticity. John Benjamins. pp. 11--32 (2009)

Bennett W. Helm
Franklin and Marshall College
Authenticity, it is plausible to suppose, is a feature of one's identity as a person---of one's sense of the kind of life worth living. Most attempts to explicate this notion of a person's identity do so in terms of an antecedent understanding of what it is for a person to value something. This is, I argue, a mistake: a concern is not intelligible as a value apart from the place it has within a larger identity that the value serves in turn to constitute; to assume otherwise is to risk leaving out the very person whose identity these values allegedly constitute. By contrast, I offer an account of values as always already a part of one's identity. I do so by providing an analysis of values in terms of what I call 'person-focused emotions,' emotions like pride and shame. Such emotions, I argue, involve a commitment to the import of a person primarily and, only secondarily, to things valued, and in this way enable us to understand what it is to value these things *for the sake of* the person. The upshot is a more satisfying account of a person's identity and values, an account that can provide the necessary background for a more thorough investigation of authenticity.
Keywords authenticity  identity  value  emotions
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