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Chong, Kim-Chong, , . The Concept of Zhen 真 in the Zhuangzi
2011, Philosophy East and West 61(2): 324-346.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Ian James Kidd

Abstract: The term zhen in the Zhuangzi is commonly associated with the zhen ren or the “true person,” who is described, for example, as capable of going through fire and water unharmed. Some scholars take this as typifying a mystical element in the Zhuangzi. This essay investigates the various meanings and uses of zhen in the Zhuangzi and reaches a broader understanding of the zhen ren in various contexts.

Comment: Excellent on the concept of ‘zhen’ (authenticity, naturalness) in Daoism. Long but clearly written. Very useful for explaining the character of Daoist ethics.

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Coleman, Elizabeth Burns, , . Aboriginal Painting: Identity and Authenticity
2001, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59(4): 385–402.
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: Coleman argues for an ontological understanding of Australian Aboriginal artworks (namely, that they function as insignia that require authoritative endorsement) that can resolve disputes about the authenticity of controversial cases of Aboriginal art. More broadly, her article illuminates the ways in which viewing art as part of a cultural heritage can affect how we understand its authenticity.

Comment: This is a longer text that intersects with a number of other topics, including appropriation, art ontology, and the art-status of non-Western artworks. It could be used in the context of course units exploring any of those themes, or to raise them in the context of a unit on authenticity.

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Karlström, Anna, , . Authenticity
2015, In Heritage Keywords, edited by Kathryn Lafrenz Samuels and Trinidad Rico. USA: University Press of Colorado.
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: This text offers a brief overview of some approaches to the concept of authenticity in international heritage management. Focusing on a case study of Buddhist sites in Laos, Karlström then argues that culturally specific understandings of authenticity pose problems for the universal application of a preservationist approach to heritage management. It concludes with some open-ended questions about how we should pursue alternative approaches.

Comment: This is a good text for instructors who want to discuses authenticity in the context of a reasonably in-depth look at a particular non-Western cultural context. While the article itself is light on conceptual/ philosophical work, if offers useful material for philosophical analysis and discussion. It would pair well with the theoretical framework provided in Yuriko Saito’s “Why Restore Works of Art?”, or the alternative approach to authenticity captured in Carolyn Korsmeyer’s “Real Old Things.”

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Keeshig-Tobias, Lenore, , . The Magic of Others
1990, In Language in Her Eye: Views on Writing and Gender by Canadian Women Writing in English, edited by Libby Scheier, Sarah Sheard and Eleanor Wachtel: Coach House Press
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

Summary: In this short selection, Keeshig-Tobias (Ojibway) raises questions about representation and authenticity in fiction about Native people written by non-Native authors. With reference to certain Native belief systems, she contextualizes why the telling of a story could be viewed as theft in a way that might seem counter-intuitive to a liberal Western audience.

Comment: This is a useful piece to pair with any of the more theoretical writings on cultural appropriation. It articulates some Native perspectives on cultural appropriation that may be less familiar to students, as well as pointing out problems with some of the assumptions on which defenses of cultural appropriation sometimes depend.

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Korsmeyer, Carolyn, , . Real Old Things
2016, Journal of Aesthetics 56(3): 219-31.
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Summary: Korsmeyer argues that although genuineness (or authenticity) is not a perceptual property, it is still an aesthetically relevant property for cultural artifacts, an argument that she locates in the relationship between age and the sense of touch. She thus offers a potential explanation for a common ntuition about the nature and value of authenticity in the Western tradition.

Comment: This is the most recent in a series of articles by Korsmeyer on the aesthetics of age and genuineness. It builds on the previous work and focuses on cultural artifacts in particular, but instructors interested in, for instance, the moral significance of authentic artifacts associated with historical injusitces might prefer some of the earlier articles in this series (such as her “Staying in Touch”). Her account also raises questions about how attributions of authenticity might affect aesthetic experience, with potential implications for discussion of authenticity in appropriation debates, though these are not explicitly explored in the article.

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Kraemer, Felicitas, , . Authenticity Anyone? The Enhancement of Emotions via Neuro-Psychopharmacology
2011, Neuroethics 4(1): 51-64.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Emma Gordon

Abstract: This article will examine how the notion of emotional authenticity is intertwined with the notions of naturalness and artificiality in the context of the recent debates about ‘neuro-enhancement- and ‘neuro-psychopharmacology.- In the philosophy of mind, the concept of authenticity plays a key role in the discussion of the emotions. There is a widely held intuition that an artificial means will always lead to an inauthentic result. This article, however, proposes that artificial substances do not necessarily result in inauthentic emotions. The literature provided by the philosophy of mind on this subject usually resorts to thought experiments. On the other hand, the recent literature in applied ethics on ‘enhancement- provides good reasons to include real world examples. Such case studies reveal that some psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants actually cause people to undergo experiences of authenticity, making them feel ‘like themselves- for the first time in their lives. Beginning with these accounts, this article suggests three non-naturalist standards for emotions: the authenticity standard, the rationality standard, and the coherence standard. It argues that the authenticity standard is not always the only valid one, but that the other two ways of assessing emotions are also valid, and that they can even have repercussions on the felt authenticity of emotions. In conclusion, it sketches some of the normative implications if not ethical intricacies that accompany the enhancement of emotions.

Comment: Discusses how the idea of authenticity relates to debates on enhancement. Best read after literature exploring different types of cognitive and emotional enhancement.

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