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Humanities 2016, 5(2), 25; doi:10.3390/h5020025

Transculturalism and the Meaning of Life

School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK
Academic Editor: Bernd Fischer
Received: 14 March 2016 / Revised: 18 April 2016 / Accepted: 22 April 2016 / Published: 26 April 2016
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Abstract

I begin by introducing the standoff between the transculturalist aim of moving beyond cultural inheritances, and the worry that this project is itself a product of cultural inheritances. I argue that this is rooted in concerns about the meaning of life, and in particular, the prospect of nihilism. I then distinguish two diametrically opposed humanistic responses to nihilism, post-Nietzschean rejections of objective truth, and the moral objectivism favoured by some analytic philosophers, claiming that both attempt, in different ways, to break down the distinction between description and evaluation. I argue that the evaluative sense of a “meaningful life” favoured by moral objectivists cannot track objective meaningfulness in human lives, and that there are manifest dangers to treating social meaning judgements as a secular substitute for the meaning of life. I then conclude that the problems of the post-Nietzscheans and moral objectivists can be avoided, and the transculturalist standoff alleviated, if we recognise that nihilism is descriptive, and maintain a principled distinction between description and evaluation. View Full-Text
Keywords: transculturalism; meaning of life; meaning in life; humanism; description and evaluation; moral objectivism; Nietzsche transculturalism; meaning of life; meaning in life; humanism; description and evaluation; moral objectivism; Nietzsche
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Tartaglia, J. Transculturalism and the Meaning of Life. Humanities 2016, 5, 25.

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