Authenticating Authenticity: Authenticity as Commitment, Temporally Extended Agency, and Practical Identity
The everyday concept of authenticity presupposes the existence of an underlying, unchanging self to which to be authentic. However, with the rise of bundle theories in philosophy of mind and neuroscience, it is unlikely that we have an essence of self to which to be authentic. In this case, should we abandon the concept of authenticity entirely or formulate a new account of it? I argue that authenticity is still important to one’s everyday life, particularly when making difficult decisions about one’s identity in terms of morals, goals, and values. Rather than being true to an objective essence of self, I argue that we can be true to the self as a construct (a self-concept). We create this self-concept with consistency and steadfastness in our commitments, as well as our ability to be an agent that fulfills those commitments. Thus, authenticity and self- hood are more about undertaking important projects and a creative process of becoming rather than unearthing and expressing an essence of self.
Just be yourself. Embrace your most authentic life. Or, if you like, “To thine own self be true.” We often encounter such pithy aphorisms. Some of us might find such advice to be helpful because it pushes us to pursue a career or life path that brings out the best version of ourselves. On the other hand, such advice could also induce anger because of its irrationality and emptiness. The self, as others of us might point out, is just a construct, so what is there to be “true” to? Or perhaps the whole concept of authenticity is simply confusing. We might agree that it is good to be authentic to one’s self but find it confusing as to what sort of identity this means for our own lives. We might, like philosopher Elisabeth Camp, pose this question: “What is my true self, such that I should pursue and cultivate it?” The everyday, common view of authenticity assumes that (1) we possess a “true” self, and (2) we ought to embrace this “true” self. But as more is learned about the mind and brain, it seems increasingly unlikely that a true, underlying self exists. Dr. Christian Jarrett, a writer for the British Psychological Society, mentions a study conducted by Strohminger et al. Strohminger and her colleagues observed that belief in an underlying “true” self is common across cultures, and inherent in this belief is the concept of authenticity. However, they are skeptical that this true self actually exists because such a self would be “radically subjective” (1). We see this sort of radical subjectivity in a study conducted by Quoidbach et al. The study found that people tend to underestimate the amount of change they will undergo in the future. They believe that their personality, core values, and preferences will be preserved over time, even though these attributes have already changed from the past to the present (2). The belief in the consistency of the self and its preferences is radically subjective in that it is based on feeling alone—it is not based on objective fact or essence. If at least some personality traits and values can and do change over the course of one’s life, then the common view of authenticity does not seem plausible. There is no true and essential self to which to be authentic because the self is not immune to change. An action which is authentic to me today might not be authentic to me in ten years. If this is the case, then how am I to decide what is most authentic: my past values, my current values, or my future values? In rejecting true and essential self, philosophers of mind, psychologists, and neuroscientists including Douglas Hoftstader, Thomas Metzinger, and Daniel Dennett have turned to bundle theories. David Hume, one of the first bundle theorists, expresses the general sentiment of bundle theories in viewing the self as a series of “bundled” perceptions that change from moment to moment (3). As such, bundle theorists declare there is no rational reason to believe in an enduring self over time. Under their view, a new self exists each moment. If no enduring and underlying self exists, then pursuing the everyday view of authenticity seems somewhat futile. Authenticity would only be possible to a given self at the singular moment it exists, which does not seem satisfying given that, from a practical standpoint, we view the self as a consistent entity, at least on a day-to-day basis. This paper is dedicated to redefining the way we commonly think about authenticity and the self. Is there even a “true” self to be authentic to? And why should we desire authenticity at all?
Three Cases: Authenticity as a Common Concern Before discussing more of the practical reasons for desiring authenticity at length, I will begin with a few “real world” examples to illustrate authenticity as a common concern within one’s daily life. (a) Neryssa and Her Corporate Job: Neryssa dislikes her current job as a human resources manager at a large corporation that manufactures soda. Though she enjoys working with people, the corporation’s product and mission don’t align with her personal values. She desires a job that feels more representative of the person she takes herself to be, but she isn’t sure if her job should even matter in terms of her sense of identity and values. (b) Rowan and Their College Major: Rowan needs to decide between a major in English or in History. On the one hand, they love literary analysis, especially as it applies to the fantasy genre. On the other hand, they also enjoy detangling and reconstructing historical narratives. When they think about the job prospects of each, they find each option to be about equal. Rowan wants to pick the major that “fits” them best, but at this juncture, both choices seem equally well-fitting. Which should they choose? (c) Julia and Her State Senate Campaign: Julia is running for election to the state senate. Her platform emphasizes environmental consciousness, especially in contrast with her opposition, who takes donations from large corporations that con- tribute to the climate crisis. Julia’s team suggests that she run a slander ad that, while not conveying outright lies, strongly insinuates that the opposition is cheating on his partner. While the ad would help Julia win the election and implement environmentally sustainable legislature, Julia isn’t sure that she can condone the ad. She takes herself to be someone who “plays by the rules” and holds herself to high moral standards. What should she do? In each of these three examples, authenticity plays a role in the decision making process of the individual involved (4). In (a), Neryssa desires a job that feels more authentic to her person. A job which represents her values is important to Neryssa, and thus, authenticity is relevant to her creating a life she enjoys. In (b), Rowan wants to know which of two options is more authentic of them to choose. Like Neryssa, they want to make a choice that will lead to a fulfilled and enjoyable life. In (c), Julia must choose between becoming a state senator and her morals. An understanding of authenticity might help her decide between these two options. I would wager that we, like Neryssa, Rowan, and Julia, have come up against similarly difficult decisions that challenge who we take ourselves to be and leave us wondering what decision is most authentic. I would also wager that the simple advice “Just be yourself!”would not help much in the situations described above. The purpose of this paper, then, is to provide a novel account of authenticity that (1) takes into account the lack of an underlying “true” self in light of bundle theories, and (2) helps us confront difficult decisions in which one’s identity is in question. Ultimately, I will propose a commitment-based account of authenticity, in which the personated, socially-constructed self and the commitments it makes are the basis for determining authentic action.
A “True” Self? A Foray Into Bundle Theories and a Postmodern Ac- count of Authenticity Discussions about the self often turn to psychology and the brain. Following John Locke and his discussion of substance in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, the view of the self shifted from one of body or spirit to one of psychological substance, particularly consciousness (5). But, as philosopher David Hume later pointed out, the brain and its associated consciousness do not have a substance of self. In more modern terminology, this means that there is no lobe or neural center that constitutes an essence of self, which is an inherent entity upon which one’s identity is founded. Rather, the self is the “bundle” of thoughts and impressions present at any moment (6). These bundles pass away and give rise to new thoughts and impressions. Thus an entirely new self arises that bears no necessary or logical connection to the previous self. To support his argument, Hume asks us to turn inwards and observe the contents of consciousness:
For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I al- ways stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception. When my perceptions are remov’d for any time, as by sound sleep; so long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist (7).
If we look inwards, we can find only perception. We can also find memories, but these are the revival of past perceptions (8). We do not find any singular thing that we could call an essence of self. Hume does not completely negate the existence of the self. There is certainly something that perceives. But, Hume argues that given the evidence, we cannot extrapolate beyond this fairly minimal conception of the self—what Elisabeth Camp more recently calls a “bare skeletal ego.” Again, the self just is perception. Science writer and neuroscientist David Eagleman offers an updated view of how bundle theories apply to the biology of the brain and thus supports bundle theories originating from Hume:
So who you are at any given moment depends on the detailed rhythms of your neuronal firing. During the day, the conscious you emerges from that integrated neural complexity. At night, when the interaction of your neurons changes just a bit, you disappear...the meaning of something to you is all about your webs of associations, based on the whole history of your life experiences (9).
Like Locke, Eagleman locates the self in consciousness, which he describes as “detailed rhythms of neuronal firing.” And when this neuronal firing shuts down perception during sleep you “disappear,” reflecting Hume’s claim that when we are “insensible” of perceptions we do not really exist (10). The self is perception and neuronal firing, and this neuronal firing impacts the way we experience and interpret the world.
Hume’s description of the self is the foundation for most modern bundle theories. Thomas Metzinger, a German philosopher, similarly undermines belief in an essence or substance of self: “There is no such thing as a substantial self (as a distinct ontological entity, which could in principle exist by itself), but only a dynamic, ongoing process creating very specific representational and functional properties” (11). Like Hume, modern bundle theorists doubt an underlying self that exists over time and endows one with a sense of “I,” which is closely tied to one’s perceived personal identity and autonomy. While bundle theorists claim we do not have any rational reason to believe in a sense of “I,” they do admit its practical necessity, as well as the human inability to abandon it. Douglas Hofstadter expresses the utility of the sense of “I” in I Am a Strange Loop: “Ceasing to believe altogether in the ‘I’ is in fact impossible, because it is indispensable for survival. Like it or not, we humans are stuck for good with this myth” (294). It is natural and practical for an individual to construct a sense of “I” to navigate the world, make future plans, and distinguish herself from others. As Hofstadter states, a sense of “I” is thus necessary to survive in and engage with the world.
If there is an objectively existing self, it is momentary and fleeting. And, in being solely composed of processes and perceptions, it is not an entity we can be perfectly authentic to over time. Nor is there an essence of self that we can stake personal identity upon. Instead, our sense of “I” comes from the temporally and subjectively existing selves we construct as useful “myths” (12). Let us call this subjectively existing entity the “self-concept” for the sake of clarity. The common view of authenticity, however, assumes that there is “true” underlying self to which to be authentic to. Under this view, authenticity is the expression of one’s “real” self. But, as bundle theorists have stated, there is not an underlying, temporally-extended self to em- brace! How can we be authentic to something that isn’t objectively real, if at all? Beyond proclaiming that personal identity is a construct, bundle theorists do not offer us any answers about authenticity. Still, I think bundle theorists would likely embrace what Varga and Guigon call a “postmodern” view of authenticity. This account of authenticity abandons an essential self and embraces a more minimal construction of self and authenticity:
Postmodern thought raises questions about the existence of an underlying subject with essential properties accessible through introspection. The whole idea of the authentic as that which is “original”, “essential”, “proper”, and so forth now seems doubtful. If we are self-constituting beings who make ourselves up from one moment to the next, it appears that the term “authenticity” can refer only to whatever feels right at some particular moment (13).
The bundle theorist, in viewing the objectively existing self as a continual and ever-changing process, would endorse the idea of a “self-constituting being” that makes itself up from “one moment to the next” (14). Thus postmodern authenticity is merely whatever feels right at some particular moment. And if we reject an essential, underlying self—which, given the psychological evidence from Strohminger, Quoidbach, and bundle theorists, I think we should—it seems we are left to embrace the postmodern account of authenticity. However, I do not find the postmodern conception of authenticity satisfying because we do not view ourselves as beings that make themselves up from one moment to the next. Rather, we wake up each day believing that we are more or less the same person we were the day before, with the same projects and goals, social relationships, and values. In our three “real world” examples, the postmodern view of authenticity gives Neryssa, Rowan, and Julia no direction as to what sorts of values or projects they ought to pursue to feel personally fulfilled. It may be true that they are just bare Humean selves from a purely objective standpoint, but they don’t view themselves as such. Consider if, in virtue of the postmodern account of authenticity, we were to tell them, “Well, just do what feels right in the moment.” They would probably respond along the lines of, “The problem is I don’t know what feels right in the moment, and the choice I make will impact my future. I don’t want to make the wrong choice!” They view themselves as people who are concerned about their futures, their well-being, and their personal projects. Neryssa, Rowan, and Julia all regard themselves as selves that exist over time with relatively consistent attributes. I think it is likely that most humans view themselves as selves that exist throughout time with somewhat consistent attributes, too. For instance, if I go to sleep liking the song “Piano Man” by Billy Joel and having a desire to learn the song on the guitar, I expect to wake up the next morning with the same sort of preferences and goals. And in taking myself to be a person with specific aspirations, I necessarily find myself interested in my future and what it holds for me. On the pain of speaking for a reader, I find it probable that they conceive of themselves in this manner, too. Elisabeth Camp offers further practical reasons for embracing a sense of “I” concerned with authenticity beyond the bare Humean ego. She argues that the sense of “I” allows an individual to make sense of and evaluate her life given her values and goals, to select relevant characteristics of selfhood and thus form a meaningful identity through which to understand herself, and to create and carry out future plans based on the self-concept she wants to create or maintain (15). Camp’s three listed benefits of a sense of “I” point to authenticity: we want to know who we are, if we have lived up to what we want to be, and how to best preserve a sense of self. In the service of self-understanding and pursuing a fulfilling life, we ought to care about a sense of “I” along with authenticity and its application to our lives. For an account of authenticity to be useful, then, it should take into consideration our perceived existence as temporally-existing selves with an eye to the future and the values and projects we hope to fulfill. In other words, a more satisfying and practical account of authenticity should work alongside our intuition of hav- ing a “true self,” even if the true self turns out to be more of a construct than an objectively existing entity. This new account of authenticity seems to be related to being loyal to a constructed self-concept. To restate, this account should (1) take into account the lack of an underlying “true” self in light of bundle theories, and (2) provide us with some direction in confronting difficult decisions in which one’s identity is in question or at stake.
The Self-Concept and Concerns of Self-Deception In this section, I will define the self-concept and discuss some difficulties self-deception poses to the self-concept, though ultimately I think we can table such difficulties. Before we address the wider question of how one might be authentic to the somewhat subjective self-concept, we need to first define the self-concept. Here I will draw from Elisabeth Camp’s character model of self. This model describes the objective self as possessing “a distinctive way in which a particular ‘I’ inhabits, interprets, and engages with the world—a particular nexus of dispositions, memories, interests, and commitments” (16). These dispositions, memories, and interests, fit in with our earlier discussion of a psychological, Humean ego if we view them at a singular point in time. The self, as Camp defines it, is not so much a unified identity that endows one with a sense of “I.” Rather, it is a particular way of experiencing and interpreting the world. Here, it is worthwhile to note that these interests and dispositions constitute a “something” that makes up the bare, Humean ego. I do not wish to misrepresent Hume or bundle theorists in saying that there is no self whatsoever. Instead, we should recognize that the bare Humean ego is an existing self, an underlying “something” that makes up an individual. The problem regarding authenticity we find with the Humean ego is its impermanence and lack of a unified, temporally existing identity. The underlying Hueman ego is not an essence or substance of self that can endow us with a sense of “I” and a lasting identity. The bare Humean ego allows us to say “I exist,” or “Something that is me is here having experiences,” or perhaps even, “At this current moment, I would like to have a glass of lemonade,” but it would not allow us to say anything about the kind of person we are, especially if the statement has to do with a characteristic or commitment that is meant to describe us over time—perhaps something to the effect of, “I am the type of person to pursue graduate study.” So the Humean ego endows one with momentary consciousness but not a sense of self or identity. Camp believes that an individual comes to an understanding of herself when she posits a “self-interpretation,” and thus forms the meaningful identity the bare Humean ego lacks. Camp compares a self-interpretation to a theory, as both create a coherent pattern or explanation “by electing and structuring a coherent unity out of [a] teeming multiplicity [of evidence].” Camp remarks that we can evaluate the effectiveness of a self-interpretation in the same way we would evaluate a theory. The more disparate elements it unites, the stronger the theory and related self-interpretation. Just as many theories can be equally probable or valid, so too can multiple self-interpretations. Likewise, when interpreting a body of data, there are clearly some interpretations that are better than others. While many interpretations may be on a par in strength, we can still distinguish between “bad” theories, which are not much grounded in the evidence nor realistic, and “good” theories, which take into account the available body of evidence for realistic interpretations. Let us say that the self-concept is the self-interpretation an individual embraces as the “best” explanatory theory for themselves given the current evidence. The self-concept is one’s understanding of their experience of the world. It is also the constructed identity that unifies one’s dispositions, memories, and interests. Thus, it is the self-concept that endows one with a sense of self and identity. I want to emphasize that even though one’s self-concept is subjective, there are limitations to its construction. The self-concept relies on objective evidence: the particular dispositions, interests, and memories held by an individual. This evidence is publicly accessible, too. Irish philosopher Philip Pettit remarks that an individual is a “figure in the public world, characterized by public properties” (17). The dispositions and interests held by an individual influence her behavior, actions, and statements. As such, the evidence becomes accessible to the public and available for use in forming a self-interpretation. Though the interpretation itself is subjective in how one decides to connect evidence and organize it into a meaningful pattern, an individual’s dispositions and interests remain objective because they exist without any given meaning. For example, say that Cassandra has an interest in almost every genre of music: country, hip hop, indie, classical—she likes it all. Before interpretation, this is simply an objective fact. Cassandra’s friend, Russel, believes that Cassandra likes many different genres of music because she is an open-minded person. Cassandra, on the other hand, believes that she likes so many genres because she had friends with varied music tastes growing up. Cassandra and Russel take an objective fact and then attribute meaning to it through interpretation. I would compare this sort of interpretation to the construction of historical narratives. Historians share the same set of facts about a historical event, but how they choose to connect them and endow them with meaning will vary. Given the objective nature of these public properties, we can blame an individual for a particularly self-deluding interpretation. For instance, a man who believes he is Napoleon might point to some evidence as reasons for him forming such a self-concept—perhaps he has a talent for tactical strategy and horseback riding— while ignoring glaringly contradictory evidence such as the fact that he is not French and he was not born in 1769. But this is a quite obvious case of self-delu-sion. What about more ambiguous, “real life” cases? I do not want to venture too far into this topic, but I would like to put forth a general means of avoiding, or at least living, with self-delusion. Firstly, we ought to approach self-concepts with the understanding that we are constructing theories, and like theories, self-interpretations are provisional. They can and should be replaced when new evidence comes to light, and if we are individuals that are dedicated to self-understanding and epistemic respectability, we ought to undergo regular introspection to uncover new evidence or re-contextualize old evidence. I think it is likely that we do so already. As fairly self-centered creatures, we like to talk about our lives with our acquaintances. Much of the time, this naturally incorporates interpretation of the self. Perhaps you spend some time talking with a friend over lunch about why you like horror movies. That evening, you discuss with your partner why they feel unfulfilled by their current job. Before bed, you silently think about whether you are the sort of person who would be happy adopting a child. With our recognition of self-concepts as provisional comes a sense of what Laurie Paul calls “epistemic humility.” We can be wrong about the sort of person we think we are, and so we must approach the self-concept knowing that we will likely get quite a few things wrong. Perhaps you thought you were the sort of person who values their career over family, but once you were faced with the actual choice to stay home and raise children or accept a promotion, you found that your priorities lay with family. What is most authentic for us to do is not always represented by the current self-concept, and this only comes to light when we encounter a choice that tests our self-concept. These choices are an integral part of self-discovery. Once again invoking epistemic humility, it seems that we are never fully done defining the self-concept. There will always be additional evidence generated or uncovered through events that test or reveal one’s character. Thus, we should accept that the self-concept is a provisional entity which we must continually discover and refine.
Authenticity as Commitment, Temporally Extended Agency, and Practical Identity An Existing Definition of Authenticity Charles and Guigon pose this question in their entry on authenticity in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “What is it to be oneself, at one with one- self, or truly representing one’s self?” They contrast this more complicated view of authenticity of self with the authenticity of objects, in which the latter is defined as the state of being “faithful to an original” or a “reliable, accurate representation” (18). While I agree that the authenticity of a self is more complicated than that of objects, I see no need to generate an alternative definition of authenticity if we can produce a “standard” to which an individual might be faithful. The existing thing being judged for authenticity in terms of faithfulness to an original or reliability in representation is a particular self-concept. Our account of authenticity will need to explain how we can temporally extend the self-concept and thus create a standard to be faithful to over time. The next natural question has to do with what it means to say that a person is a “reliable, accurate representation” of themselves (19). To form a “reliable, accurate, representation” of oneself, there are two primary “keys”: commitment and tempo- rally-extended agency, both of which I will discuss in the remainder of this section.
The Personated Self, Commitment, and Agency The first key to a new account of authenticity lies in commitment. Here I will make use of Philip Pettit’s discussion of commitment and selfhood. Though Pettit primarily focuses on selfhood and identity in his article “My Three Selves,” I believe we can extend his conclusions to our current discussion of authenticity. According to Pettit, a person is defined as an “agent with the capacity to personate,” where personation is the act of presenting a persona and “inviting[ing] others to adopt [this] picture of who you are” (20). For instance, say that my friend asks me to keep a promise and I agree to do so. In doing so, I am making a claim about myself and a commitment to that claim: I will keep my friend’s promise. If I want my personated self to be relied upon, I ought to do as I said I would and keep the promise. If I do not, my earlier claim is compromised in its assertion as the truth. An individual must “live up to their words in practice: they act as the attitudes communicated would warrant" (21). In effect, the individual treats their personated self as real and, in living up to their personated self, invites others to do the same. In doing as I said I would, I fulfill the persona I set forth, thus endowing it with a sense of provisional reality. Here we come up against an objection. In making commitments or endorsing a particular self-interpretation, it would seem that an agent must be almost narcissitically focused on the creation of the self-concept at any given moment. Pettit’s own view is in tension with this sort of narcissism: “To return to a point made earlier, however, this self is not a construct that I intend to create as such...That claim ties personhood, implausibly, to a highly intellectualized form of reflection and a pattern of self-scripting that sounds downright narcissistic, as critics have suggested” (22). Relying on a “highly intellectualized form of reflection” poses a problem because it would require us to undergo a good deal of reflective agony about the person we take ourselves to be every time we make a commitment. Furthermore, it is entirely possible for an individual to possess a rich identity without undertaking highly intellectualized reflection. I think that we can still be quite conscious and aware of the commitments we endorse without being overly focused, or even highly aware of, the personated self we are creating in most cases. The following example will help us overcome this objection. Say that you ask me to drive you to the mechanic to pick up your car. I will likely say yes barring a major inconvenience. When I agree to drive you to the mechanic, I do not fully conceptualize the person that I believe myself to be. Rather, I feel as a matter of good will that I should help you out. If you were to ask me why I drove you, I could come up with the answer upon momentary reflection: I agreed because I take my- self to be the sort of person to help out a friend in a bind. But I don’t take the commitment itself to be constitutive of my self-concept unless prompted by some out- side inquiry or internal reflection. Furthermore, in such moments of self-reflection I do not focus on a singular commitment but a larger collection of commitments that I attempt to arrange into a meaningful pattern, thus forming a self-concept. Pettit echoes this sort of intermittent reflection, writing, “...it is important that it may take effort to achieve a full knowledge of who and how in this sense I am... Thus, it may take time and trouble for me to develop such a sense of where I am committed” (23). In other words, the personated self is something we make somewhat unconsciously through conscious commitments, and it is only later, through adequate reflection, that we develop a “sense of where we are committed,” and thus a self-concept to which to be faithful to (24). Now we can return to the initial example of my promissory commitment to my friend. In keeping my promise to my friend, I find that I have been faithful to my commitment in this particular instance. If I expand this promissory commitment to be constitutive of my self-concept and thus the sort of person that I take myself to be, I will as a matter of principle continue to fulfill my promises. If I successfully keep such commitments, my actions, behaviors, and claims will accurately and reliably represent my self-concept. My friend will accept that I am the sort of person to keep a promise, given that I continue to keep promises when called upon to do so. So authenticity relies on the fulfillment of the commitments one sets forth as constituting their self-concept (or at least, a sincere attempt to fulfill such commitments). With commitment comes the second key: temporally extended agency. As Pettit suggests in his definition of a person, persons are a particular sort of agent—an individual or entity that undertakes or performs an action (25). When we make commitments, we become agents concerned with values, goals, and policies that are enacted over time. American philosopher Michael Bratman uses the goal of writ- ing a paper as an example of temporally extended agency:
I see my activity of, say, writing a paper, as something I do over an extend- ed period of time. I see myself as beginning the project, developing it over time, and (finally!) completing it. I see the agent of these various activities as one and the same agent-namely, me. In the middle of the project I see myself as the agent who began the project and (I hope) the agent who will complete it. Upon completion I take pride in the fact that I began, worked on, and completed this essay. Of course, there is a sense in which when I act at a particular time; but in acting I do not see myself, the agent of the act, as simply a time-slice agent. I see my action at that time as the action of the same agent as he who has acted in the past and (it is to be hoped) will act in the future (26).
Similarly, an individual can make a commitment to be a particular sort of person that acts in a particular sort of way, and then carry this commitment over time. The individual does not view their self-concept and associated commitments as a “time-slice agent,” even if the Humean self changes from moment to moment (27). Rather, commitments connect both the personated self and the self-concept through time. Harry Frankfurt, another American philosopher, similarly argues that the individual makes plans and acts in virtue of the commitments which she cares about, and thus becomes “inherently prospective; that is, [she] necessarily considers [herself] as having a future” (28). So too do such plans entail a “notion of guidance” along with a “certain consistency or steadfastness of behavior; and this presupposes some degree of persistence” (29). To re-emphasize my point, though we may objectively be bare Humean selves, on the basis of forming commitments and endorsing them over time, we create a provisional sort of self that is temporally extended in terms of agency and identity. Even if the objective self shifts from moment to moment, the commitments we endorse remain somewhat consistent and thus so does the self-concept. Furthermore, for our self-constituting commitments to have a real impact on who we take ourselves to be and how other people perceive us, they must be somewhat consistent. Like a theory, a self-concept should accurately “predict” future behavior and actions—if a self-concept were not consistent, it would not have much credibility or trustworthiness for those around us. Nor would it be a source of guidance and meaning for the individual. To sum, a personated self arises out of one’s commitments (and more generally, one’s intent to act/actions). A personated self is temporally extended into a more unified identity when one is faithful to their commitments, though a reflective understanding of this identity is not yet present. To construct the self-concept and achieve a level of self-understanding, the collection of commitments are arranged into a meaningful pattern as if to say, “I am this sort of person because I have made several commitments of this kind in the past, and I would like to continue doing so.” The self-concept, though subjective, gives us a standard to which to be authentic and guides our future actions in the service of preserving authenticity. We decide who we are and who we want to be, and then we do our best to fulfill the self-concept we conceive. At the core of authenticity, we find a steadfastness and consistency towards one’s commitments. I also believe that the required degree of faithfulness to a commitment is normative. I cannot give a full account here, but if we accept Quoidbach’s conclusion that core values, personality traits, and preferences change over time, then we should also allow commitments and authenticity to shift over time. An individual should be required to uphold her commitments for as long as they accurately rep- resent the person she takes herself to be at present. In this manner, our novel ac- count of authenticity occupies a median position between that of bundle theorists and a true and essential self. The self-concept is stable from moment to moment unlike the self put forth by bundle theories. However, the self-concept is revised as one undergoes self-discovery and changes as a person, so it does not rely on consistent and core personality traits like the essential self. What is authentic to me today might not be authentic to me in ten years, though our account of authenticity allows for gradual changes over the course of one’s life. We are held to our commitments, but only to a point. Authenticity is, then, a moving target.
How Commitments Originate
Commitments and the behaviors and actions they endorse may seem arbitrarily chosen, especially if one does not have a given reason to endorse a particular self-concept over others. Here I will discuss how commitments originate and what reasons they are based on.
First, I wish to introduce the concepts of fixed traits and free traits. According to personality psychologist Brian Little, a fixed trait is an inborn or “culturally endowed” personality trait such as introversion or conscientiousness (30). A fixed trait is “fixed” in virtue of its givenness. I cannot wake up and decide, as a matter of will, to no longer be an introvert. Free traits, on the other hand, are “tendencies expressed by individual choice,” such as cultivating an interest in soccer (31). However, Little also believes that fixed traits and free traits can coexist, particularly in how an individual chooses to modify fixed traits to fulfill a goal. In the spirit of our earlier discussion of temporally extended agency, Little states that we must “extend personality temporally,” because over time, particular personality traits are emphasized or downplayed based on one’s core projects (32). A core project is defined as “meaningful goals, both small and large, that can range from ‘put out the cat, quickly,’ to ‘transform Western thought, slowly’” (33). Importantly, a longstanding core project related to one’s life work and identity resembles Pettit’s definition of commitments. Little uses himself as an example: as an introvert, he dislikes public speaking. However, he also values being a professor and sharing knowledge, and thus pushes himself out of his comfort zone during lectures and speeches (34). His commitment to teaching and imparting knowledge allows him to take a fixed trait and disposition, introversion, and treat it as a free trait for a limited amount of time to work towards his core project. Though it may not be authentic of Little to become a professional public speaker, it is still authentic of him to undergo public speaking engagements due to his commitments. Little’s self-concept might be the following: “I take myself to be an introvert, but if I have a cause I really care about, I’m willing to talk in front of a crowd and thus act as if I were an extrovert.” Little’s acting like an extrovert does not make him one, but rather invites others to view him as someone who can successfully engage a crowd with a speech regardless of introversion or extroversion.
Therefore, commitments are based upon inborn and culturally endowed behavior, dispositions, and interests, although we might have some control over if and how we enact such traits. In his paper “The Importance of What We Care About,” Harry Frankfurt offers support for the necessity of given traits. He writes, “While what is antecedently important to the person may be alterable, it must not be subject to his own immediate voluntary control. If it is to provide him with a genuine basis for evaluations of importance, the fact that he cares about it cannot be dependent simply upon his own decision or choice” (35). We must start with some given and objective behaviors, dispositions, and interests, lest our entire constitution be entirely arbitrary. Though we cannot choose our given traits, I believe we still have a degree of freedom in which traits cultivate and express. We can, as Millgram argues, “take an interest in something, in the hope of finding it interesting” because we are curious and will ourselves to look into a new interest (36). The same sort of curiosity and flexibility applies to behaviors and dispositions. We cannot fundamentally change these characteristics, but perhaps we can be curious enough to see how flexible they are in our expression of them. Like Little, we can undertake a project that pushes us outside of our comfort zone. This allows us to observe how freely we can manipulate a fixed trait.
There is a balance between commitments we undertake knowing that we will have to alter fixed traits and commitments which we accept because we acknowledge we have particular fixed traits. Thus, another consideration of authenticity is understanding how far and for how long we can push ourselves past fixed traits until we experience what Little calls “burnout” (37). We might also find that there are behaviors and interests that we simply cannot enact or adopt, try as we might. A few years ago, I tried to cultivate an interest in ornithology. Though I was curious, I could not adopt or sustain the interest, and eventually abandoned my attempts at doing so because it did not bring me any pleasure and I had no other strong reasons to keep trying. On the other hand, there are behaviors and interests that we simply cannot abandon or downplay. While I cannot bring myself to be interested in ornithology, I find it difficult to remain uninterested in The Bachelor when it airs. Perhaps my lack of interest in ornithology and my inability to abandon interest in The Bachelor are the result of my not trying hard enough. To this sort of objection, I reply that I have no reason to try harder, nor a further interest in doing so. I might try harder to develop an interest in ornithology if I had a commitment or core project that related to it, such as spending more time with a friend who likes bird watching. I might also try harder to abandon my interest in The Bachelor if I read a scientific article about the detriment of reality TV to the human brain, which would be in tension with my greater commitment to intellectual health. As it stands, I don’t have any further interest or relevant commitments that would have me try harder to mold these traits. Thus, part of living authentically might be realizing which of our traits are involuntary and which of our traits are voluntary—in other words, which traits are decidedly fixed and which traits are some- what mutable. Living authentically is a balance of acceptance and choice in terms of forming and fulfilling commitments, as well as discovering what commitments we can and cannot enact.
Our account of authenticity has arguably come to resemble Harry Frankfurt’s account of freedom of will. Frankfurt argues that freedom of will relies on the hi- erarchical ordering and endorsement of desires and volitions (38). Likewise, I believe authenticity relates to ordering one’s commitments by their strength, especially when we are faced with two competing commitments. Authenticity comes from the commitments we endorse, and one commitment, such as the inborn tendency to be introverted, can be overridden by a stronger commitment and accompanying desire such as the commitment to be a professor that engages in public speaking with the desire of imparting knowledge. Therefore, another aspect of authenticity is reflecting upon what one cares about, and then determining, either by an act of will or an acceptance of one’s nature, which of these values “overrides” the others.
Our new account of authenticity also bears relation to Christine’s Korsgaard’s description of practical identity. In deciding which commitments to make, we create policies or “laws” which dictate future actions: “When you deliberate, it is as if there were something over and above all of your desires, something that is you, and that chooses which desire to act on. This means that the principle or law by which you determine your actions is one that you regard as being expressive of yourself” (39). Korsgaard further supports my assertion that commitments are expressions of the self-concept. Making commitments builds what Korsgaard calls one’s “practical identity,” which is “a description under which you find your life to be worth living and your actions to be worth undertaking.”40 Where the personated self focuses on the making of commitments to present a self to others, the practical identity emphasizes making commitments to define and justify the actions of a self. Indeed, Korsgaard’s description of integrity might as well be discussing authenticity:
Etymologically, integrity is oneness, integration is what makes something one. To be a thing, one thing, a unity, an entity; to be anything at all: in the metaphysical sense, that is what it means to have integrity. But we use the term for someone who lives up to his own standards. And that is be- cause we think that living up to them is what makes him one, and so what makes him a person at all (41).
Along with authenticity and practical identity comes a sense of “integration” or “oneness” of self. The commitments, values, interests, and actions of an individual come together under the self-concept to form a rational pattern. Korsgaard additionally indicates another consideration in our search for authenticity: we should attempt to form commitments that exist in harmony with each other rather than in tension. In doing so, we form a self-concept better equipped for consistency and steadfastness.
Practical and Existential Reasons for Committing Once you have made a commitment, why should you keep it? Let’s return to our earlier example: I tell my friend that I’m the sort of person to keep a promise, and he asks me to promise that I will attend his jazz concert tomorrow evening. What are the consequences of my failure to show up and fulfill my promise? Pettit offers three excuses that I might use in such a situation, which we will apply to our discussion of authenticity. The first is an excuse of circumstance (42). Say that I call my friend after the concert and profusely apologize for missing the event. However, I have a relevant excuse for the context. At the last minute, a family member of mine was admitted to the hospital and my presence was needed. With this excuse (as long as it is true), my friend excuses me from living up to my earlier promissory commitment. In fact, I could use an excuse of circumstance as many times as necessary, though it is unlikely that I would be able to genuinely use such excuses unless I were an incredibly unlucky person. We can regard ourselves as acting authentically in this situation because, although we had two competing commitments, we fulfilled the commitment we felt was stronger. If my friend understands my self-concept and rationally approaches the situation, he will likely understand why I valued my commitment to aiding my family in an emergency over attending his jazz concert. In this context I suffer little to no consequences for failing to uphold my promissory commitment. The other two excuses are less so the product of uncontrollable circumstances but of mental states or events. They result in interpersonal consequences. The first is an appeal to being misled by one’s mind. Say that I tell my friend that I truly thought I could make a promise to go to his concert, but when the occasion arose, I found that I simply could not keep it. Perhaps I remembered that I don’t like crowds, and therefore could not attend the concert. My initial willingness was an instance of self-delusion, or at the very least, a lack of self-knowledge (43). If I use this excuse, my friend would begin to see me as easily misled and too quick to form self-judgments. What kind of person, he might ask, forgets that they dislike crowds? Certainly not a person who is properly introspective. My friend would regard me as untrustworthy when it comes to my statements about commitments, and thus would disbelieve elements of my self-concept. If my self-concept does not match up with my personated self and its actions, then I have failed to act authentically. I will suggest that authenticity is an attractive quality in a friend and necessary for a steady relationship. If I continue to be inauthentic, then I might destroy our relationship. The second excuse is a matter of changing one’s mind (44). Say that I was not misled when I made the prior commitment, but I decide I no longer want to keep my promise. Besides being outrightly rude in changing my mind about this commitment, I also appear “wishy-washy,” or indecisive, to my friend. I make commitments without thinking about what they entail. My friend would regard me as unreliable and “flaky.” I would fail to be faithful to my commitments, and it might cost me my reputation. My friend would be less likely to rely on me and to let me rely on him in return (45). Again, authenticity is necessary for maintaining stable interpersonal relationships (46). Beyond potentially losing a meaningful interpersonal relationship, breaking commitments bears pressing existential implications. Varga and Guigon, in quoting Sartre, express a worry about the “cost” of breaking self-constituting commitments: If an agent acts against her commitments, she risks the “radical transformation of her being-in-the-world.” If I say that I am the type of person to keep a promise and then fail to do so, I will have to take this new behavioral evidence into account. If I fail to keep a promise multiple times, then my action is not simply out of character—it is my character. If I avoid deceiving myself, I will have to admit that I am not the type of person to keep a promise, and thus must change my self-concept. My personated self, the outward persona which I present to others through my attitudes and actions, would come apart from my practical identity and self-concept. I would lose who I take myself to be. Korsgaard adds to this worry: “Consider the astonishing but familiar ‘I couldn’t live with myself if I did that.’ Clearly there are two selves here, me and the one I must live with and so must not fail” (47). Here, she elaborates upon the discomfort of losing who one takes themselves to be. As we have previously seen in the case of the personated self vs the self-concept, there is a tension between who we take ourselves to be and who we really are by virtue of our behavior and actions. I would have to live with the knowledge that I want to be someone who keeps their promises, but, based on my actions, I can no longer claim this commitment as part of my self-concept. Again, if I do not delude myself, I have to recognize that I am not a reliable person nor a good friend when it comes to promises. As Korsgaard points out, I would have trouble “living” with myself; my self-esteem would suffer. Indeed, this sort of asymmetry in my personated self versus my self-concept has some serious consequences if I let it infect too much of my being:
It is the conceptions of ourselves that are most important to us that give rise to unconditional obligations. For to violate them is to lose your integrity and so your identity, and no longer to be who you are. That is, it is no longer to be able to think of yourself under the description under which you value yourself and find your life worth living and your actions worth undertaking. That is to be for all practical purposes dead or worse than dead (48).
This is quite the cost. If I value being the sort of person who keeps their promises, then I would find it difficult to exist with the knowledge that I am someone who does not do so. While I think Korsgaard’s statement here is overly dire in terms of breaking only a few loose commitments, she illustrates the real and pressing threat that losing one’s authenticity poses. If I fail to live up to several of my commitments, especially those which I designate as highly integral to my self-concept, I risk creating a life in which I find no value, meaning, or self-esteem. My personated self would be so far removed from my desired self-concept that I would feel the disconnect Korsgaard mentions between “me and the one I must live with” (49). Such an existential state is likely the source of statements such as, “I am a stranger to myself,” and “I do not recognize myself any longer.” Finally, having long-term commitments is part of an enjoyable life and the avoidance of boredom. Little and Frankfurt concur on this end. Little is quoted as saying, “Human flourishing is achieved through the sustainable pursuit of one’s core projects,” which can be reframed as lasting commitments to one’s goals (50). Frankfurt, too, identifies final ends as the driving purpose of one’s life: “If we had no final ends, it is more than desire that would be empty and vain. It is life itself. For living without goals or purposes is living with nothing to do” (51). We need commitments as final ends in order to build fulfilling and interesting lives. Further- more, commitments stave off the encroachment of boredom. Boredom, Frankfurt claims, threatens one’s “psychic survival” (52). Besides losing a sense of personhood, a lack of commitments and the development of boredom would endanger one’s mental existence and inner life. We can see, from discussing the existential implications of breaking commitments, even more reasons to pursue authenticity.
Applying Our New Account of Authenticity Now that we have a new account of authenticity, let’s return to the three cases we posed earlier. How does our new account of authenticity offer guidance to Neryssa, Rowan, and Julia? For (a), we would first ask Neryssa how much her job contributes to her sense of identity, and thus, her self-concept. If she does not stake much of her identity upon her job, then for the sake of authenticity, she does not need to search for a new job. If she does take her work to be a large part of her identity, then she will need to search for a new job because the current job is in tension with her self-concept and the person she takes herself to be. We would also ask Neryssa how much the company’s product and mission misalign with her personal values. If she works for a corporation that espouses anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric while simultaneously taking herself to be someone who supports LGBTQ+ rights, she might, as Korsgaard warns, find it difficult to “live with herself.” Let’s say that Neryssa does stake a fair amount of her identity on her job. In addition, let’s say that the company’s values are greatly misaligned with Neryssa’s values. We would say that it is more authentic of Neryssa to leave her current job and search for a job that is representative of her values and the person she takes herself to be. We might even counsel her and suggest that, in staying in a job that is in tension with her self-concept, she risks burnout, the loss of her sense of identity, and general dissatisfaction. Furthermore, she might find it difficult to even commit to a job that she cannot fully endorse. In terms of authenticity alone, we would say that it is best for Neryssa to search for a new job. In (b), it would be helpful if we suggest that Rowan reframe the question. Instead of worrying about which major is the most authentic choice, we would remind Rowan that authenticity is not an expression of an essence of self. Rather, authenticity is a commitment to the self-concept, or, the self they take themselves to be. Therefore, they should ask themselves which major they would find themselves most capable of committing to. Can they envision a long-term commitment to either history or literature? In reframing the question in this way, we take away the agony related to the question, “What kind of person am I?” and turn our attention to a new question: “What kind of person would I like to be?” This question is prospective and forward-looking, and it emphasizes that there is no truly “right” choice (although some choices might be more “right” than others). We make a choice “right” by committing to it, given that we have the capability and interest necessary to commit to it in the first place. In Rowan’s case, they have the added benefit of being able to change their major. Say that Rowan declares an English major, but after a semester of classes, realizes that they would much prefer life as a history major. They can now change their commitment and self-concept. Thus, Rowan’s case endows us with a bit of advice for ourselves. When we can, we might try out a choice or experience before making a commitment to it and staking our identity upon it. For example, say that you are interested in becoming a parent. Before committing to parenthood (which, unlike a college major decision, cannot be reversed once chosen), you might spend some time taking care of young children and talking to their parents about the pros and cons of raising a child. While spending time with young children and talking to parents cannot fully replicate the actual experience of becoming a par- ent, you would at least have a clearer idea of what parenthood entails. In (c), we would remind Julia that her decision for or against the attack ad will become evidence that constitutes her self-concept. This is because decisions of this nature are “expressive of yourself” (Korsgaard 83). She needs to evaluate which she values more: the ultimate goal of her campaign, which is to promote environ- mentally sustainable legislature; or her personal morals and commitment to “playing by the rules.” If she runs the attack ad, she commits to being the sort of person who values the greater cause over her personal morals. If she decides against the attack ad, she commits to being the sort of person who values her personal morals over the greater cause, even if the greater cause is quite worthy. What we are asking of Julia is similar to what we asked of Rowan: “What sort of person would you like to be?” As we did with Neryssa, we would tell Julia to make the commitment that results in a self-concept she can “live with.” Though running the attack ad might help Julia win the election, the victory will mean little if she has sacrificed the self-concept that she wants to embody. Or perhaps Julia determines that she values the ultimate goal of her campaign more than her personal morals. In doing so, she commits to a new self-concept, one that values the greater good over her personal qualms. What matters in Julia’s case is that she decides in relation to a self-concept she can endorse and commit to, and thus continue past the decision with minimal tension between the person she takes herself to be and the person she acts as. Her self-concept, whatever it ends up being, will also influence how she reacts to and values future decisions, so it is imperative that she be able to commit to this new self-concept over time. I hope these three examples properly illustrate how one would use this new account of authenticity in real-world situations. I believe authenticity is of greatest importance when we are faced with difficult, self-constituting decisions. On a day- to-day basis, we might find it unnecessary to ask whether an egg salad sandwich or a hamburger is a more authentic lunch choice. However, it is necessary to spend time reflecting upon the self-concept and authenticity when the choice we face has clearly life-altering consequences or stands to change the way that we conceive of ourselves. And though authenticity may be an important factor in how one makes decisions and conceives of themselves, it is not necessary that authenticity and steadfast commitments constitute a morally admirable or respectable life. A person could commit to being flaky, to being a nuisance to their friends, or to being a criminal mastermind all while still being authentic. On a final note, it may seem as if one cannot help but be authentic if, at the end of day, authenticity amounts to a sincere commitment to one’s self-constituting choices. It seems like Neryssa could just as easily authentically embrace the practicality of keeping her current job as she could embrace the authenticity of seeking more fulfilling work, as long as she fully commits to her choice. However, I do not think this new account of authenticity is too weak regarding the tension between the personated self and the self-concept. Again, I will use the quote from Korsgaard: “Consider the astonishing but familiar ‘I couldn’t live with myself if I did that.’ Clearly there are two selves here, me and the one I must live with and so must not fail” (53). Sometimes the person we take ourselves to be is markedly different from the behavior we exhibit and values we espouse. In these situations, we have two options. One option is to accept a new self-concept in light of new behavioral evidence. Alternatively, we can change ourselves or our lives, thus pursuing greater harmony between the person we act as and the person we take ourselves to be. The discomfort of not being able to live with oneself is what holds us to a stricter attribution of authenticity.
From the initial doubt that bundle theories cast upon the necessity and nature of authenticity, we find ourselves with a novel account of authenticity centered upon steadfastness to the commitments which we take as integral to our self-concept. It is this self-concept that endows us with a sense of “I” and identity. When the actions and behavior of the personated self successfully act as a “reliable, accurate representation” of the person we take ourselves to be, we are authentic to that sense of identity. When faced with difficult decisions which have the potential to shape who we take ourselves to be, it may help to ask ourselves not what is most authentic of some underlying essence of self, but what we would find most natural to commit to. With this sort of direction, we will hopefully continue to construct self-concepts which we can “live with” and bring fulfillment and satisfaction to our lives.
1 Christian Jarrett, “There Is No Such Thing as the True Self, but It’s Still a Useful Psychological Concept,” 2017. https://digest.bps.org.uk/2017/08/22/there-is-no-such- thing-as-the-true-self-but-its-still-a-useful-psychological-concept/ 2 Jordi Quoidbach, et al., “The End of History Illusion,” Science, vol. 339, (2013), 98. 3 David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, (Oxford: 1896), 134).
4 There are other considerations at play in each scenario. For instance, in (c), there are also considerations of ethics. In (a) and (b), there are considerations of practicality and utility in regards to selecting a job and a college major. Still, authenticity plays a role in what the agent chooses and how they decide to value considerations of ethics, practicality, and utility, so each scenario will involve authenticity in some way, although authenticity might not be the only deciding factor.
5 John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Book II: Ideas, 118.
6 Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, 134. 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid, 11. 9 David Eagleman, The Brain: The Story of You, (New York: Vintage Books, 2015), 34-35. 10 Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, 134. 11 Thomas Metzinger, “Self Models,” Scholarpedia, 2007.
12 Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop, (Basic Books: 2007), 294. 13 Somogy Varga and Charles Guignon, “Authenticity,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2020. 14 Ibid.
15 E Camp, “Wordsworth’s Prelude, Poetic Autobiography, and Narrative Constructions of the Self,” Retrieved 2021, from https://nonsite.org/wordsworths-prelude-poetic- autobiography-and-narrative-constructions-of-the-self/.
17 Philip Pettit, “My Three Selves,” Philosophy, vol. 95, no. 3, 2020, 6.
18 Varga and Guignon, “Authenticity.”
20 Philip Pettit, “Philip Pettit: My Three Selves. Royal Institute of Philosophy Annual Lecture 2019,” YouTube, uploaded by RoyIntPhilosophy, 2019, www.youtube.com/ watch?v=DUzuNVuEIYA. 21 Pettit, “My Three Selves,” 7-8.
22 Ibid, 18.
23 Ibid, 19.
24 Three more brief notes. (1) It is possible that the first time I make a commitment to be a certain sort of person that the commitment does require substantive reflection and narcissistic intellectualization. But hereafter, the fulfilling of the commitment is somewhat automatic as a matter of policy. If I find no difficulties in fulfilling my commitment (say, a competing commitment), it should be easy for me to do so with little reflection. (2) Some decisions concerning commitments do require substantive reflection and narcissistic intellectualization, along with an awareness of both. However, these sorts of commitments are likely “tests of character” or life-changing decisions, so they warrant such agonizing and reflection. I have in mind the decision to marry someone, to have a child, to go to war, to change careers, etc. (3) Here we can easily see how “taking stock” of one’s life might prompt a series of new commitments and the abandonment of old ones. We look back on the commitments we have made and decide, through the gradual making and fulfilling of new commitments, to form a new self-concept. In instances of conscious change, we would be aware of the new commitments we make—we would be more “mindful” of the personated self being created than we naturally find ourselves to be.
25 Pettit, “My Three Selves,” 7. 26 Michael Bratman, “Reflection, Planning, and Temporally Extended Agency,” The Philosophical Review, vol. 109, no. 1, 2000, 43. 27 Ibid.
28 Harry Frankfurt, “The Importance of What We Care About,” Synthese, vol. 53, no. 2, (1982), 260. 29 Ibid, 161.
30 Susan Cain, Quiet, (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012), 209. 31 Craig Lambert, “Introversion Unbound,” Harvard Magazine, July 2003, www.harvardmagazine.com/2003/07/introversion-unbound.html. 32 Ibid. 33 Ibid. 34 Cain, Quiet, 209-210.
35 Frankfurt,“Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person,” Journal of Philosophy, Inc., vol. 68, no. 1, (1971), 18. 36 Elijah Millgram, “On Being Bored Out of Your Mind,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. 104, (2004), 179. 37 Lambert, “Introversion Unbound.”
38 Frankfurt, “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person,” 15.
39 Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity, (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1996), 83.
41 Ibid, 84.
42 Pettit, “My Three Selves,” 17.
43 Ibid, 9. 44 Ibid. 45 Ibid, 19-20. 46 By authenticity in relationships, I do not mean "showing your true self." Many of our relationships might only exist because we present ourselves in a curated fashion. So authenticity in relationships might simply be keeping one’s commitments. However, as in our discussion of free trait theory, there is a limit to which we can keep up an image that is in tension with our given traits. Authenticity in a relationship is, once again, a balance between the person we are for others (free or mutable traits) and the person we cannot help but be (fixed traits).
47 Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity, 84.
49 Ibid. 50 Lambert, "Introversion Unbound." 51 Harry Frankfurt, "On the Usefulness of Final Ends." Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 41, (1992), 6-7.
52 Ibid, 12.
53 Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity, 84.
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