The Imperative of Authenticity

photo of Simone de Beauvoir
A draft of chapter 10 is now available to download.

It reconstructs Beauvoir’s argument for the moral requirement of authenticity in Pyrrhus and Cineas.

The argument begins from a premise that, according to existentialism, everyone must accept: that some ends are valuable. It then argues that this commits one to valuing achieved ends as potential means to further ends, which in turn commits one to valuing the capacity to pursue projects.

If the argument is sound, then it derives the imperative to value the structure of human agency, the capacity to pursue projects, from that very structure itself.

The chapter is devoted to clarifying and detailing Beauvoir’s argument for this Kantian moral conclusion. It concludes that this argument for the imperative of authenticity should be taken seriously as a contribution to contemporary moral philosophy.

Please do let me know what you think of the chapter, either by posting in the Comments thread to this news item or sending me an email.

Draft chapters are available from the Book page.