, Volume 54, Issue 6, pp 530–532 | Cite as

Be Yourself! How Am I Not myself?

II. Society and Politics: Between Essentialist and Existentialist Authenticity
  • Uriel AbulofEmail author
Symposium: Revisiting Maslow: Human Needs in the 21st Century


Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs is mostly animalistic; only self-actualization is uniquely human. Yet even this token of “human exceptionalism” is hampered by subscribing to essentialist, rather than existentialist, authenticity. If the former is just about recovering an innate, latent, core, it robs humans of their freedom to (re)create who they are. If we dare to choose, we cannot but be ourselves.


Maslow Human needs Self-actualization Authenticity Essentialism Existentialism 

Further Reading

  1. Abulof, U. 2015. The Mortality and Morality of Nations. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abulof, U. 2017. Conscientious Politics and Israel’s Moral Dilemmas. Contemporary Politics, 23(1): 34-52.Google Scholar
  3. Darwin, C. 1981 [1871]. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Princeton, N.J:Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  5. Giddens, A. 1991. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Stanford, Calif:Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
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  7. Maslow, A. H. 1943. A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological review, 50(4), 370–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Maslow, A. H. 1954. Motivation and Personality (First ed., ). New York:Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  9. Maslow, Abraham H. 1999 [1962]. Toward a Psychology of Being. 3rd ed. cNew York: J. Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  10. Maslow, A. H. 1971. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York:Viking Press.Google Scholar
  11. Milnes, Tim, and Kerry Sinanan, eds. 2010. Romanticism, Sincerity, and Authenticity. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  12. Nietzsche, F. W. 2005. The Anti-Christ,Ece Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and Other Writings. New York:Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Sartre, J.-P. 2007 [1945]. Existentialism Is a Humanism. New Haven:Yale University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International AffairsPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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