Heidegger's account of the anyone (das Man) is ambiguous. Some interpreters applaud the anyone as the best description of human sociality, while others think of it as an important critique of modern mass society. This chapter introduces the main idea leading up to this volume: Heidegger's anyone should neither be reduced to its pejorative nor its constitutive dimension. Rather, the ambiguity of the anyone reflects the tension between the constitutive function of norms, rules, and conventions for human action on the one hand, and the critical aspects of conformism on the other. The anyone is the condition of possibility of all human action, but it does not provide its ultimate source of meaning or intelligibility. This evokes the question whether there are standards for our actions beyond the common sense of the anyone. I take this to be the question that Heidegger's notion of Eigentlichkeit, translated as authenticity or ownedness, wants to address. After distinguishing two controversial dimensions for interpreting authenticity – romantic versus formal and individualistic-atomistic versus pluralistic-social – I will introduce the social dimension of authenticity as the focal point of this volume. In particular, I will identify as the main question whether authenticity can serve as a source of social critique and a motor for social change.
Thonhauser, G. (2017)., Introduction, in H. B. Schmid & G. Thonhauser (eds.), From conventionalism to social authenticity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 1-5.
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