Assessing Enhancement Technologies: Authenticity as a Social Virtue and Experiment

The New Bioethics 25 (1):24-38 (2019)
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This paper argues for a revised concept of authenticity entailing two demands that must be balanced. The first demand moves authenticity from the position of a strictly self-regarding virtue towards the position of a fully social virtue, acknowledging the crucial feature of steadiness, i.e. self-consistency, as being precisely what we ‘naturally’ lack. Nevertheless, the value of personal authenticity in a modern, open society comes from the fact that it brings about not only steadiness, but also the public development of a variety of existential options that can be understood as Millian ‘original experiments in living’. Thus the second demand of authenticity is a demand for ‘experimental’ authenticity which covers the whole spectrum of technologies of the self, from Nietzschean ‘brief habits’, to the use of enhancement technologies.

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Cristian Iftode
University of Bucharest


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