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The philosophical problem with our pursuit of “authenticity”

Become too authentic and you simply rule out self-improvement 

By Daniel Callcut  

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If the fashionable idea of the 1980s was upward mobility, then the buzzword of this decade is authenticity. This ruling ideal of being true to yourself and “keeping it real” is rarely criticised. But what if the message deters individual transformation and encourages everyone to stay in their place? Is the ethic of authenticity in some ways more conservative than the Thatcherite yuppie message it replaced? I think it’s time to consider how authenticity stands in the way of progress and aspiration.

We’ll begin with moral philosophy, touch on…

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