Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Project of Philosophy and Contemporary Society, Advanced Research Center for Human Sciences, Waseda University


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Nothing but Nihilism?
: The Spirit of Purposelessness in James Tartaglia’s Philosophy in a Meaningless Life

Ronald A. Kuipers

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.7, No.1 (July 2017):50-69




This appreciative inquiry of James Tartaglia’s Philosophy in a Meaningless Life examines the case Tartaglia makes for the meaninglessness of life itself (as opposed to particular purposeful activities within life), and asks whether it is still possible for modern persons to entertain a notion of meaning that does not stem from human purpose and decision alone. Does meaning only reside in the purposes humans choose and the activities they invent, or can human beings experience the enveloping universe as itself responsive to the human quest for meaning? Taking up the work of Victor Frankl, this essay explores the latter possibility, in sympathy with Tartaglia’s resistance to quick and easy impositions of all-too-human meaning on the transcendent context of life itself.

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