The Evolving Ethic of Authenticity: From Humanistic to Positive Psychology

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This article attempts to resolve the apparent tensions between humanistic and positive psychology regarding their respective notions of what constitutes a good life. It argues that an ethic of authenticity provides a unifying normative framework for both traditions, including interpretations of the various dimensions of authenticity and of the moral virtues and principles associated with this ethical ideal. The article provides a working definition of authentic selfhood that draws on both the existential-phenomenological tradition and the communitarian ethical framework associated with positive psychology. It demonstrates how these two very different philosophical traditions contribute to a shared, integrative theory of authentic self-development which, in turn, provides needed clarity to the normative framework of positive psychology.

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