International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)

Jon Leefmann


Authenticity as a moral category in applied ethics

The project is concerned with the philosophical analysis of the concept of authenticity and the possibilities of its interpretation as a moral ideal within a theory of a good life. The focus is on the question of the possible meaning of the concept for the bioethical discourse, and hence makes reference to the current debate on neuro- and psychopharmacological enhancement, a debate in which arguments more or less explicitly involving the concept of authenticity are very prominent.
The project will elucidate the preconditions for various conceptualizations of the term authenticity relating to theories of philosophical anthropology in the broadest sense, including models from social philosophy, social psychology and the theory of action. Additionally the roles of different concepts of authenticity in specific arguments in the enhancement debate will be revealed. It will be shown, that the possible interpretations of the concept cannot be used for ethical arguments without at least implicitly referring to a normative meta-theory, which within the context of the debate on human enhancement, must be some theory or at least some notion of a good life.


Prof. Dr. phil. Sabine A. Döring (Faculty of Humanities - Philosophy) 
Prof. Dr. phil. Eve-Marie Engels (Faculty of Science – Ethics in Biosciences)


since April 2009 fellow of the DFG research training group “Bioethics” at the IZEW, Tübingen University
2008-2009 graduate research assistant at IZN, Heidelberg University
2008 Diploma: Biology, Philosophy (minor), Heidelberg University.
Studies in Cellular Biology and Philosophy at the Universities of Heidelberg, Tübingen and Pavia (Italy).


Leefmann, J.; Krautter, J.; Bauer, R.; Tatagiba, M.; Gharabaghi, A. (2011): Die Authentizität
modulierter Emotionen bei der tiefen Hirnstimulation; in Clausen, J., Potthast, T., Kovacs, L. (eds.) (2011): Darwin und die Bioethik; Lebenswissenschaften im Dialog, vol. 12; Alber, Freiburg i.Br.

Study Group for Practical Analytic Philosophy:


Tübingen University
International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)
Wilhelmstr. 19
Room 3.17
Tel.: 07071-29 77511