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Human PredicamentsAnd What to Do about Them$
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John Kekes

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226359458

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226359595.001.0001

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Unavoidable Hypocrisy

Unavoidable Hypocrisy

(p.151) 9 Unavoidable Hypocrisy
Human Predicaments

John Kekes

University of Chicago Press

Hypocrisy is to pretend to have some belief, emotion, or desire that makes us appear better than we are. It is generally condemned in our evaluative framework, but it is actually a widely practiced unavoidable part of life. Authenticity is to express in action how we genuinely are. There are strong reasons both for and against both hypocrisy and authenticity. These reasons often conflict and which reasons are stronger depends on the context in which the conflict occurs. The case of Schmidt, an authentic and unhypocritical executioner, shows that there were strong reasons why he should have been hypocritical and inauthentic. Charles Taylor’s defense of authenticity is discussed and criticized. Hypocritical claims in our evaluative framework about the basic value of life are examined. There can be no formula that would always show when hypocrisy and authenticity are or are not reasonable.

Keywords:   problems, hypocrisy, authenticity, Schmidt case, Charles Taylor, value of life, personal attitude, modes of evaluation, Jean Baptiste Poquelin deMoliere, Oedipus case

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