Authenticity: the virtue of an otherwise virtueless world - Existentialist authenticity as a contemporary replacement of classical virtue
Wyngaarden, D. van
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This thesis studies the relation between the concepts of authenticity, virtue and happiness. It aims at answering the question: Is Sartrean authenticity a contemporary version of Aristotelian virtue? In addition, it shows the overlap between these otherwise opposed thinkers. In order to answer this question, the main ideas of Aristotelian virtue theory and Sartrean authenticity were reconstructed. Then, the main findings of these reconstructions were compared to each other. It was found that the Sartrean concept of ‘abandonment’ contributes to the rejection of any virtue based on human essence. The accompanied rejection of objective guiding morality in existentialism makes authenticity a replacement candidate for classical virtue as presented by Aristotle, since it forms a guiding principle in an otherwise aimless contemporary existence. This will lead to the conclusion that authenticity is a virtue of an otherwise virtueless world. It was found that this is a direct consequence of the shift in worldview between essentialism and the more recent existentialism.