Posted on February 3, 2011


Sincerity in Western societies

Sincerity has not been consistently regarded as a virtue in Western culture.[citation needed] First discussed by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, it resurfaced to become an ideal (virtue) in Europe and North America in the 17th century; and it gained considerable momentum during the Romantic movement, when sincerity was first celebrated as an artistic and social ideal. Indeed, in middle to late nineteenth century America, sincerity was an idea reflected in mannerisms, hairstyles, women’s dress, and the literature of the time.

More recently, sincerity has been under assault by several modern developments such as psychoanalysis and postmodern developments such as deconstruction.[citation needed] Some scholars view sincerity as aconstruct rather than a moral virtue—although any virtue can be construed as a ‘mere construct’ rather than an actual phenomenon[citation needed].

Literary critic Lionel Trilling dealt with the subject of sincerity, its roots, its evolution, its moral quotient, and its relationship to authenticity in a series of lectures published under the title Sincerity and Authenticity.

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