Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy



First Advisor

Fritz Wenisch


This study will investigate the foundations of Martin Buber’s authenticity. The problems of the foundation of authenticity arises in Jean-Paul Sartre who makes contradictory claims when he says on the one hand there are no objective ethical values while on the other says “we ought to be authentic.” The questions are: Can authenticity be separated from objective values and still impose an obligation? And what are the foundations for saying “we ought to be authentic”?

In the first section Buber’s notion of Wirklichkeit (actuality) is examined and will be shown to provide some legitimate foundation for authenticity by implying an obligation in reference to what man “ought to be”.

The second section reviews Buber’s acceptance of objective values and discusses how this acceptance provides Buber with another foundation of authenticity. Buber’s notion of Verantwortung (responsibility) is essential to understanding his views on objective ethical values and their ontological foundation in God.

The third section points out how Buber’s philosophy overcomes the existential nothingness that confronts modern man.

In the Conclusion the value and importance of Buber’s philosophy, as well as some of the problems connected with it, are discussed.



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