Is This Really Me? Autonomy, Authenticity and Alienation

Workshop at the Centre for Advanced Study in Bioethics

To what extent can a person lead an authentic life while taking antidepressants? Or the other way round, to what extent might this medication lead to an alienation from oneself? Beyond these very specific examples of Applied Ethics, the workshop Is this really me? Autonomy, Authenticity and Alienation will deal with fundamental conceptional problems and seeks to clarify the systematic relationship between alienation, authenticity and autonomy. The workshop will take place on 6 June 2014 at room GE 1.23 (Geiststrasse 24-26). Capacities for participants are limited, so please register in advance via the office of the Centre.


Is this really me?

The phenomena of alienation and self-alienation not only feature prominently in philosophical, sociological and literary works, but are also a matter of everyday experience in the lives of some people. For example, seeing oneself stuck in certain unwanted social roles or patterns of action might affect one’s self-image so negatively that one perceives oneself on the whole as inauthentic or estranged from oneself, even leading to significant restrictions of one’s ability to decide and act autonomously. However, how should we analyze the concepts of alienation and self-alienation more exactly, and what kind of systematic relationships do they have to the concepts of authenticity and autonomy?

The workshop’s contributions are intended to address these fundamental questions regarding the conceptual connections between (self-)alienation, authenticity, and autonomy, while also enabling consideration of context-specific problems, for example in the realm of neuroethics.



9:00 Welcome
9:15 – 10:05 Authenticity, Non-Alienation and Claiming a Right
Thomas Gutmann (Münster)
10:15 – 11:05 Alienation, Reflection and the Fragile Unity of the Self
John Christman (State College, PA)
11:15 – 12:05 How Alienation Works
Jörg Hardy (Münster)
12:15 – 13:05 My – Oh my!
Michael Quante (Münster)
Lunch Break
14:15 – 15:05 Understanding Self-Alienation
Michael Kühler (Münster)
15:15 – 16:05 Does Autonomy Require Authenticity?
Alexa Nossek (Münster)
16:15 – 17:05 Different Notions of Authenticity in Neuroethical Contexts
Birgit Beck (Jülich)