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Open AccessArticle

Transculturalism and the Meaning of Life

School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK
Academic Editor: Bernd Fischer
Humanities 2016, 5(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/h5020025
Received: 14 March 2016 / Revised: 18 April 2016 / Accepted: 22 April 2016 / Published: 26 April 2016
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
MDPI and ACS Style

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

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