AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

What does it mean to be authentic?

by Emma Engstrøm

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Authenticity; individualism
Record ID: 1122160
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/20471


This project report explores ‘What is Svend Brinkmann’s critique in regards to the culture of individualistic authenticity, and does this concept still have a future?’ Our approach to this project was two-fold and so we have used Constructivism and Hermeneutic as an approach. Over the years for not to say over the past centuries, the idea of being authentic has changed and developed into new meanings. The denotation ‘individualistic authenticity’ has developed alongside the development of individualism. There has been more and more focus, which has manifested upon the individual, and this plays an important role in regards to the new connotations of authenticity. The focus upon the individual of which we find in today’s society may have consequently led to many self-development technologies, and there is a greater emphasis upon the individual’s feelings. Svend Brinkmann, educated MSc. Psych., Ph.D., published his book “Stå Fast”, which attempts to break with what he refers to as being an enforcement of self-development technologies. We have examined his book through two methods of analysis, and his claims are currently under discussion and evaluation; while some agree with his viewpoints, others question them. We believe it is important to ask these questions. Do we live in a Western society where we are constantly required to adapt to endless changes, relate to ourselves and if so is there room for one to be his or her authentic self? In order to respond to this question we have explored historical aspects, philosophical aspects, psychological aspects and cultural aspects. In conclusion, we have put these different aspects into perspective as to discuss Svend Brinkmann’s book and conclude in relevance to our problem definition. This paper concludes that there is no definite answer to the question of what it means to be authentic. However, the research points towards a balanced approach when taking the question into consideration.