Authenticity and Heidegger's Antigone
Sophocles’ Antigone is the only individual whom Heidegger names as authentic. But the usual interpretations of Heidegger’s ‘authenticity’ (as being-towards-death, taking responsibility for norms, world-historical creation, and a neo-Aristotelian phronēsis) either do not apply to Antigone or do not capture what Heidegger finds significant about her. By working through these failures, I develop an interpretation of Heideggerian authenticity that is adequate to his Antigone. The crucial step is accurately identifying the finitude to which Antigone authentically relates: what Heidegger calls ‘uncanniness’ (Unheimlichkeit). I argue that uncanniness names being’s presencing through self-withdrawal and that Antigone stands authentically towards this in her responsiveness to the call of being and her reticence at the end of explanation. In conclusion, I consider Sophocles’ own creative act, which bequeathed to the West an understanding of being and a vision of how to relate to it authentically. I argue that Sophocles’ status as a world-historical creator does not provide a competing picture of authenticity but must itself be understood as responsive and reticent.
Publisher permits posting author's accepted manuscript.
Embargo Lift Date
Taylor and Francis
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.