Exploring Authenticity: A Comparative Analysis of Nietzsche and Sartre on Authentic Choices


Exploring Authenticity: A Comparative Analysis of Nietzsche and Sartre on Authentic Choices

Friedrich Nietzsche:

Authenticity: For Nietzsche, authenticity is closely tied to the “will to power,” the fundamental drive he believes underlies all human actions. Authenticity involves embracing this will to power, transcending societal norms, and creating one’s own values. It’s about becoming who you truly are, often summarized by his phrase “become who you are.”

Authentic Choice: An authentic choice for Nietzsche would be one that emanates from an individual’s own will to power and is not constrained by societal norms or external moral systems. It’s a choice that reflects the individual’s true self and their own created values.

Jean-Paul Sartre:

Authenticity: Sartre’s concept of authenticity is rooted in existentialism, which emphasizes individual freedom and responsibility. To be authentic is to act in accordance with one’s own essence, to acknowledge one’s freedom, and to take full responsibility for one’s actions and their consequences.

Authentic Choice: For Sartre, an authentic choice is one made in “good faith,” fully aware of and accepting the responsibility that comes with one’s freedom. It’s a choice that is not in denial of one’s freedom (bad faith) and is aligned with one’s own defined essence.

Comparison and Contrast:

  • Common Ground: Both philosophers stress the importance of individual agency and the need to make choices that are aligned with one’s true self.
  • Divergence: Nietzsche focuses on the will to power and the creation of new values as the basis for authenticity. Sartre, on the other hand, emphasizes existential freedom and the responsibility that comes with it. While Nietzsche challenges conventional morality to define authenticity, Sartre’s concept is more about the ethical responsibility of free choice.
  • Authentic Choice: Nietzsche would likely view an authentic choice as one that asserts one’s will to power and breaks free from herd mentality. Sartre would see it as a choice made in good faith, fully embracing one’s freedom and the accompanying responsibility.