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Sophia

pp 1–47 | Cite as

The Vanity of Authenticity

  • Steven DeLayEmail author
Article
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Abstract

Traditionally, phenomenology has understood the self in light of intentionality and hence the world. However, contemporary French phenomenology—as represented here by Jean-Luc Marion—contends that this view of subjectivity is open to challenge: our mode of existence is not simply one of “being-in the-world.” I develop this claim by examining Marion’s reformulation of the reduction. Here, the phenomenon of vanity is key. I first present Husserl’s and Heidegger’s own formulations of the reduction. Following Marion, I show that the blow of vanity neutralizes both, by undercutting the respective questions to which they respond. For, in response to vanity’s own question—“What’s the use?”—neither the transcendental nor ontological reductions have a reply. Vanity consequently renders the Heideggerian distinction between authenticity and inauthenticity existentially moot. To establish this, I evaluate how existing interpretations of authenticity overlook the phenomenon of vanity. Phenomenology, I urge in conclusion, should shift its attention to the horizons opened by Marion’s erotic reduction.

Keywords

Heidegger Husserl Love Marion Reduction Vanity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I owe thanks to Mark Wrathall, Joseph Schear, Crina Gschwandtner, Steven Crowell, Joshua Broggi, Stephen Lewis, Joseph Rivera, John Davenport, Sacha Golob, Matthew Burch, David Egan, Jack Marsh, and an anonymous referee for their feedback. I owe thanks also to audiences at the Post-Kantian Seminar in Oxford and Kings University College, Ontario.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA
  2. 2.Christ ChurchUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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