Skye Cleary || Simone de Beauvoir and the Quest for Authentic Living

August 25, 2022

Today we welcome philosopher Skye Cleary. She is a lecturer at Columbia University and the City College of New York. Skye is the author of Existentialism and Romantic Love and co-editor of How to Live a Good Life. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Aeon, Business Insider, TED-Ed, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other outlets.

In 2021, she was a MacDowell Fellow and In 2017, she won the New Philosopher Writers’ Award. Her latest book is called How to Be Authentic. 

In this episode, I talk to Skye Cleary about Simone de Beauvoir’s life and how it has informed her existentialist philosophy. As a feminist during the forties, Simone was passionate about freedom of choice. It’s not a surprise then that her definition of authenticity also revolves around self-determination. Authenticity is not about finding a true self, but rather a process of creating who we want to be. We also touch on the topics of gender, power, social justice, narcissism, and fulfillment.

Website: skyecleary.com

Twitter: @Skye_Cleary


  • French existentialist philosophy
  • “One is not born, but rather becomes, woman”
  • Creating our essence
  • Transcending our impulses
  • Creative rebellion
  • Skye’s Critique of Simone de Beauvoir
  • Authenticity is responsible freedom
  • Power and freedom
  • Skye’s background in philosophy
  • Intersubjectivity: the foundation of ethical relations
  • Inauthenticity, social media, narcissism
  • Windows of freedom, genetics, motherhood
  • Fulfillment is embracing life



Join the Discussion