This chapter shows that for Martin Heidegger there is both epistemic and behavioral components to authentic existence. First, the chapter discusses Heidegger’s notion of inauthentic existence and its attendant components: the condition of “falling” and the everyday existence of the “they-self,” both of which pose an obstacle to the clear grasp of understanding authentic existence. Next, the chapter examines Heidegger’s meaning of the terms “conscience” and “resoluteness.” While conscience is the condition for understanding ourselves fully, beyond inauthentic existence, resoluteness is an openness to understanding human existence, which can lead to committed action. The chapter concludes with the normative implications of authentic existence. In the end, authenticity places an obligation on the individual to achieve personhood by explicitly choosing his or her identity as it is lived out in a pre-existing social existence.
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