The openness of self-constitution : creativity, authenticity, and autonomy

Erinakis, Nikos (2016) The openness of self-constitution : creativity, authenticity, and autonomy. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Most theories either identify autonomy and authenticity or else conceive the one as a core condition of the other. This thesis concentrates towards a reconceptualization of authenticity aiming at a clearer distinction between it and autonomy. By doing so, we shall be able to make much better sense of the everyday cases in which these notions are involved. Authenticity may be irrelevant or even conflicting to autonomy and each of these concepts needs to be understood in its own terms. At the heart of this thesis lies the development of a novel conception of authenticity. In contrast to the vast majority of prominent thinkers, who base their conceptions of authenticity on rationality and reflection, I base mine on creativity. Creativity has been widely understood as the creation of something both original and valuable. I develop a novel conception of creativity, which is designed to help us understand authenticity. I focus on what a creative process is, and I define it in terms of a conception of novelty and of sensitivity to the intrinsic value of the creative outcome. In light of this, I formulate a necessary and sufficient historical/developmental, externalist, non-intellectualist, non-rationalist and content-neutral condition of authenticity. While almost all theories of authenticity necessarily require the existence of a true self or at least some kind of self—the existence of which has been widely questioned by empiricists, neuroscientists and post-modern thinkers—the conception that I put forward is not a self-expression view of authenticity. In addition, I conceive autonomy and authenticity as two different normative principles: Autonomy is a moral concept that regulates permissible and impermissible actions, while authenticity is an ethical concept, which describes part of the moral good. I conclude that while respecting autonomy, we should primarily aim at developing social structures that promote authenticity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2018 14:59
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2018 14:59

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