Workshop 14.10.2003, 13.00, at the Wittgenstein Archives, Allegaten 27, Lunchroom, First floor

The Authentic in Wittgenstein's Philosophy

organized by

EU ARI WAB scholars Ulrich Arnswald and Gerhard Gelbmann

The concept of authenticity is widespread and seems to be familar. The idea of "being oneself" or "being true to oneself" is deeply rooted in the interpretation of individual freedom. The emphasis on self-determination as the original expression of the human, points to the autonomy and uniqueness of every person. However, our lives are from birth to death under the contingency of brute facts. Nevertheless it remains possible for human beings to shape ourselves and our world out of the mere givenness of situation.

Succeeding in this shaping is not to escape the contingency of life but to transcend it by giving it new significance and meaning. By recognizing the meaninglessness it becomes possible to give a meaning to the meaninglessness, which then again helps us towards a directed future out of an absurdly given and meaningless past. Authenticity demands courage, given that it is a kind of honesty. - The authentic individual faces something which the unauthentic individual is afraid to face.

The workshop shall raise the question if an own concept of authenticity can be extracted from Wittgenstein's philosophy. Or, alternatively, if the authentic in Wittgenstein's work can be made explicit via the authenticity concepts of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre, Jaspers among others.