Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy;vol. 13


The Evolution of Sartre’s Concept of Authenticity : From a Non-Egological Theory of Consciousness to the Unrealized Practical Ethics of the Gift-giving (No-)Self

Balogh, Lehel

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JaLCDOI : 10.14943/jaep.13.1
KEYWORDS : authenticity;bad faith;existentialism;nothingness;self-transformation


Over forty years have passed since the death of Jean-Paul Sartre, still, his oeuvre stands out as a paramount achievement in existential-phenomenological thought. Among the numerous ideas and challenges he offered to contemporary continental philosophy, the problem of authenticity deserves a special place, for it connects many of existentialism’s key concerns. The ever reforming conceptualization of authenticity had spread from the mid-1930s (La transcendance de l’égo) till Sartre’s posthumously published Cahiers pour une morale that appeared in the early 1980s, and it had a profound impact not only on ethical and literary theories, but also on psychiatry and psychotherapy. The present essay’s undertaking is to closely follow the trajectory of this celebrated concept, to contextualize its development in accordance with Sartre’s shifting philosophical as well as ethical projects over the years, and to point out some of the affinities this concept might have with East Asian thought, and with Buddhism in particular