Journal of Applied Philosophy - Early View Articles

The Challenge of Authenticity: Enhancement and Accurate Self‐Presentation

Published online on Feb 15, 2017


This article explores the significance of authenticity for debates about the ethics of enhancement. According to the view defended here, what lies at the heart of authenticity is a disdain for phoniness or fakery – two notions which essentially concern the way we present ourselves to others and, in turn, the way we are viewed by those others. Being authentic thus requires that we not pretend to be something or someone we are not or otherwise represent ourselves falsely to the outside world. As far as authenticity is concerned, then, the primary ethical challenge to the use of enhancements is to those uses that are hidden or unacknowledged – instances in which individuals represent themselves as having achieved or become something without technological assistance when, in fact, the converse is true. One is not undermining one's authentic self when one uses technology to accomplish a particular goal or undergoes some procedure to alter oneself, even quite radically. Rather, one is only being inauthentic to the degree that one passes off oneself and one's achievements as something they are not.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1111/japp.12266 About DOI

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