Transcending absurdity

Ratio 21 (1):64–84 (2008)
Authors
Joe Mintoff
University of Newcastle, Australia
Abstract
Many of us experience the activities which fill our everyday lives as meaningful, and to do so we must (and do) hold them to be important. However, reflection undercuts this confidence: our activities are aimed at ends which are arbitrary, in that we have reason to regard our taking them so seriously as lacking justification; they are comparatively insignificant; and they leave little of any real permanence. Even though we take our activities seriously, and our everyday lives to be important, on reflection they seem less meaningful than we suppose. Thomas Nagel claims that this discrepancy is inevitable, and thus that our lives are absurd and to be approached with irony. The aim of this paper is to explore whether it is inevitable, and in particular to examine recent formulations (of Peter Singer, Robert Nozick, and others) of the old idea that we can transcend this absurdity by forming attachments less susceptible to being undercut.
Keywords Meaningfulness  Absurdity  Transcendence
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2007.00385.x
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References found in this work BETA

Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle - 1999 - Courier Dover Publications.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Practical Ethics.Peter Singer - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Anti-Meaning and Why It Matters.Stephen M. Campbell & Sven Nyholm - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (4): 694-711.
Meaning Without Fulfilment.Kirsten Egerstrom - 2018 - South African Journal of Philosophy 37 (2):193-206.

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