This paper reexamines authenticity as the category which environmental aesthetics can employ to reconceptualize our aesthetic judgment of everyday artifacts and how, by doing so, that contributes to reducing ecologically harmful effects of consumerism. To this end, I draw upon Heidegger’s notion of authenticity (Eigentlichkeit) and the ambiguous position of usable artifacts in his philosophy. I shall unpack this ambiguity by explaining that it mirrors tensions in Heidegger’s idea of truth as inherently agonistic dis-closure. I argue that although everyday artifacts – as opposed to artworks – are situated closer to the pole of hiddenness, they can participate aesthetically in revealing being. Elucidating this requires re-appropriating Heidegger’s concept of being ‘authentic’ as being ‘one’s own’ (eigen). I show that applying the category of (Heideggerian) authenticity to everyday artifacts should consist in unfolding their ontological uniqueness, which is irrespective of their ontic replicability. Finally, I develop an understanding of authenticity by exploring environmental-aesthetical implications of some of Heidegger’s remarks on things related to their susceptibility to changes.
Magdalena Holy-Luczaj is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland. She works primarily in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, especially at its crossroads with environmental ethics. Her research interests include also posthumanism in contemporary philosophy. She has published articles in Environmental Values, Ethics & the Environment, Environmental Ethics, and other journals on environmental philosophy.