Transcendence without reality

Philosophy 80 (3):361-384 (2005)
Abstract
Thomas Nagel has held that transcendence requires attaining a point of view stripped of features unique to our perspective. The aim of transcendence on this view is to get at reality as it is, independent of our contributions to it. I show this notion of transcendence to be incoherent, yet defend a contrasting notion of transcendence. As conceived here, transcendence does not require striving for an external, objective viewpoint on nature or looking at matters from someone else's or an impartial point of view. On my view, which builds on the work of Iris Murdoch, transcendence consists of a refinement of our concepts and sensibility to make them more adequate to the individuals we encounter. (Published Online October 13 2005).
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