Authenticity and Tolerance: Virtues Reframed for Defining Common Ground in Communication

By Colleen Burke.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Authenticity, in this project, is intended to coincide with Buber’s notion of being. Inauthenticity is connected to Buber’s understanding of seeming which “is based upon images of what one wants to be” (Arnett and Arneson 146). Public communication implies community involvement, which carries with it a responsibility to one’s embeddedness through engagement with others in that community. Bok states, “…I must learn to represent to myself the world and the other as you see them” (52).
In this work, the counterpart to authenticity is tolerance. Tolerance of others’ beliefs can lead to moral relativism and close opportunities for conversation. Tolerance, in this project, is directed toward the other and is understood as providing an opportunity for genuine learning without giving up on one’s commitment to a particular narrative. When a disagreement regarding beliefs occurs, an opportunity for dialogue and learning emerges.
Tolerance, in this project, considers the human being in the manner of Benhabib in her discussion of the generalized other in which she states that “there is [a] universalistic commitment to the consideration of every human individual as a being worthy of universal moral respect” (10). In marking the distinction between tolerating other’s beliefs and tolerating the other, a way is provided for permitting one’s deepest commitments to remain primary, permitting more meaningful dialogue to occur in public life.

Keywords: Public Communication, Virtues, Authenticity, Tolerance, Ethics

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp.183-194. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 653.623KB).

Dr. Colleen Burke

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Studies Theatre, and Art, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA, USA

Dr. Colleen Burke is an assistant professor at Westminster College where she has been teaching in the Department of Communication Studies, Theatre and Art since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Philosophy of Communication from Duquesne University. Dr. Burke’s areas of specialty are Interpersonal and Organizational Communication and Communication Ethics. At Westminster College, she teaches courses in Interpersonal Communication, Communication Ethics, Political Communication, Business and Professional Communication, and Professional Presentations. Outside of Westminster College, Dr. Burke is a consultant for local and global manufacturing companies, providing guidance on conflict management skills and communication strategies for management and employees.


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