Leadership and the Unmasking of Authenticity
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Leadership and the Unmasking of Authenticity

The Philosophy of Self-Knowledge and Deception

Edited by Brent E. Cusher and Mark A. Menaldo

Leadership and the Unmasking of Authenticity presents a philosophic treatment of the core concept of authentic leadership theory, with a view toward illuminating how authors in the history of philosophy have understood authenticity as an ideal for humanity. Such an approach requires a broader view of the historical origins of authenticity and the examination of related ideas such as self-knowledge and deception. The chapters of this book illuminate the conflict between the contemporary understanding of authenticity and traditional philosophy by revisiting the ideas of thinkers who express self-knowledge as a cornerstone of their philosophy.
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Chapter 4: Different purposes, different lives: Socrates’ twofold presentation of his activity in Plato’s Apology of Socrates

Brent Edwin Cusher


The interpretation of Plato’s Apology of Socrates in the chapter argues that Socrates delivers two accounts of his life that are diametrically opposed to one another. In the first version, Socrates reveals himself to be radically skeptical of pretentions to knowledge about the most important human things and dedicated entirely to the cause of discovering the truth, no matter how toxic this activity may seem from the Athenian point of view. In the second, and by contrast, Socrates argues that he is the truest friend of Athens, a pious man who spends his life going around to his fellow citizens encouraging them to live the best lives they can. In other words, Socrates’ leadership embodies not authenticity but a very public inauthenticity, or irony, which is actually useful for his promotion and protection of the philosophic way of life among his followers.

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