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Philosophy in a meaningless life: a system of nihilism, consciousness and reality

Tartaglia, James



This book combines an account of the autonomy of philosophy with a new theory of consciousness. The account of philosophy is rooted in the question of the meaning of life. This question, it is argued, is neither obscure nor obsolete, but rather reflects an ancient and natural concern to which all other traditional philosophical problems can be squarely related; allowing them to be reconnected with natural sources of interest, and providing a diagnosis of the typical lines of opposition to be found across philosophy’s debates. The question of the meaning of life is answered with nihilism: reality is meaningless. But finding nothing pernicious in this, the author rejects the various strategies devised in the 20th century for evading or coping with nihilism. Nihilism would be false if there were a transcendent context of meaning. But in correctly retreating from this prospect, it is claimed, philosophy erroneously retreated from the concept of transcendence itself. For only in terms of this concept can the contemporary problem of consciousness be solved, thereby avoiding an untenable revisionism: either of our conception of consciousness or the physical world. In terms of the transcendence of consciousness (which has no scientific implications), the author explains how the ‘block universe’ account of time suggested by contemporary physics can be reconciled with a temporal present, and why commitment to universals seems irrevocable. The book concludes that philosophy’s cultural role is to maintain a rational discussion about transcendence, and that through greater self-awareness, it can regain its influence.

Publication Date Dec 17, 2015
ISBN 1474247709