Repository | Book | Chapter


(2017) From conventionalism to social authenticity, Dordrecht, Springer.

Social authenticity

towards a Heideggerian analysis of social change

Martin Weichold

pp. 219-240

Drawing on resources from Heidegger, social theory, ecological psychology, and enactive cognitive science, this paper presents novel analyses of social normativity and social change. The key idea is that we humans are often stunned with the practical necessities we experience in everyday action: Often, it feels hard or even impossible for us to act differently from what "one" has to do – for instance, it just feels "wrong" to go shopping in a dressing gown. However, a philosophical analysis reveals that we only experience the world in the way we experience it because we are the beings that we are: There are subjective background conditions for bringing about meaningful experiences, background conditions which only philosophical reflection can make us aware of. These background conditions, it is suggested, are shaped and transformed by social conventions and public interpretations of the world. Thus, the point of view from which we experience the world is socially shaped – a fact most humans are ignorant about when absorbed in action. Yet apprehending this fact, and realizing that the interpretation which we ordinarily presuppose is radically contingent is the first step of becoming "authentic". Individuals gaining this insight understand that it is to an important part up to them how the world shows up. Thus, they can modify their attitude toward the world. Likewise, it is suggested, even a whole society can become socially authentic and decide which of the contingent social conventions which constitute it as a society should be retained and which modified.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-56865-2_12

Full citation:

Weichold, (2017)., Social authenticity: towards a Heideggerian analysis of social change, in H. B. Schmid & G. Thonhauser (eds.), From conventionalism to social authenticity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 219-240.

This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.