Finding Meaning edited by Steven DeLay


Finding Meaning: Philosophy, Art, and Science in the Age of Nihilism

Finding Meaning: Philosophy, Art, and Science in the Age of Nihilism

In this series of articles, contributors from a variety of perspectives reflect on what the philosophical life means to them. In doing so, they do not attempt just to account for what personally led them to philosophy, but what philosophy itself has become today in the wake of “the death of God,” the age of nihilism. Phenomenologist Steven DeLay introduces a new occasional series of short essays about philosophy in the age of nihilism. The latest is by Aaron Preston

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Metaphilosophical Eudaimonism and the Death of God

Metaphilosophical Eudaimonism and the Death of God

Philosophy in “the great tradition” beginning with Socrates aims to provide wisdom for living, grounded in a deep understanding of human nature and human flourishing in relation to the larger orders (social, cosmic, etc.) that humans inhabit. It is primarily in this sense that the tradition responds to the Delphic injunction to “know thyself.” Aaron Preston continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Looney Tunes

Looney Tunes

A curious feature of one of Nietzsche’s most famous aphorisms – § 125 of The Gay Science– is his noting that the audience, upon whom the madman descends and delivers the “news” of the death of God, already “did not believe in God.” This would appear to make the madman’s arrival belated, and yet at the end of the passage – after stunning his audience into silence – he declares that he has come “too soon.” How are we to understand this? David R. Cerbone continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Reflections on Method in Philosophy of Science

Reflections on Method in Philosophy of Science

I completed a dissertation on the social epistemology of science in 1997 at the University of Western Ontario, in Canada. My dissertation was titled “The role of community in inquiry”. It was quite traditional with respect to methodology. I examined and evaluated various philosophical arguments that aimed to support claims about various respects in which science is said to be social. K Brad Wray continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Art and Philosophy in a Godless Age

Art and Philosophy in a Godless Age

I suspect that nearly all contemporary philosophers came to discover the discipline in their late teenage years, in their first year of college. Given the structure of a course of study at university, this almost always means that if someone decides to seriously study philosophy, they have to abruptly adjust the picture they have of their life. The philosophical life is something that most philosophers catch, it is not something we grow up wishing to pursue. Steven Haug continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Armed with Art in Times of Uncertainty

Armed with Art in Times of Uncertainty

“There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.” So we hear from Margaret Atwood in the modern classic The Handmaid’s Tale. Reading dystopian novels by Margaret Atwood during a global lockdown might not have been the best idea. Or so I kept repeating to myself during the restless nights of spring 2020. Katerina Koci continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Building a Chapel for Reason

Building a Chapel for Reason

Hans-Georg Gadamer often remarked that the long path of thinking of his teacher Martin Heidegger ultimately amounted to a search for God. Setting aside whether that thesis really does justice to Heidegger, I cannot help but suspect that it applies to my own philosophical journey. I grew up in a household with a Catholic mother and a secular–atheist father. The interplay between these orientations shaped my outlook. David Liakos continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Neither God nor Philosophy

Neither God nor Philosophy

I didn’t go into philosophy because I was tormented by existential questions or because I was struggling to find meaning in life, or for any particularly deep or profound reason, and if you’d asked me then what I liked about philosophy, I would have said pretty much what I say when asked about it now: Philosophy takes up a number of interesting, eclectic, perennial, and sometimes deep questions with the aid of a useful, if limited toolset. At its best (and in conjunction with other things), it can help a person become more thoughtful in engaging with his or her humanity and the larger world. And that’s about it. Daniel Kaufman continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Calibration

Calibration

When I’m meeting new people (or, at least, when I used to meet new people, back before COVID), it is inevitable that they will ask some version of “So, Neal, what do you do for a living?” And when I say that I teach philosophy, I tend to get one of two responses: a blank stare followed by them immediately moving on to talk with someone else; or a statement like “I took a class in that once—I HATED it. Is the chair really there or is it just in my mind? Who Cares!?!” This confirms two things to me: first, philosophers tend to have terrible imaginations, and almost always make examples out of things we can see in our immediate vicinity (tables, chairs, what’s outside the office window, etc.); and second, much of what we do in ‘academic’ philosophy fails to register as interesting to most people. Neal DeRoo continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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God On Trial: The Impious Philosopher as Would-be Detective

God On Trial: The Impious Philosopher as Would-be Detective

The world is a crime scene. Existence, the first and final crime. And like most atrocities, the deed was done in the dark, committed when no one was looking. There are two postures one can assume in response to this brute fact. One can either accept it as a fact—that is, as somethinggiven, that which merely is, a precondition of thought which is thus impervious to thought—or, one can begin to wonder. Matthew Clemente continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Problems With Truth

Problems With Truth

Nietzsche was the first philosopher to seriously question the value of truth, a value that previous philosophers, and nearly all subsequent philosophers, have treated as absolutely sacrosanct, as something beyond question. There are in fact good arguments for the claims, one, that that we need at least a minimum of true belief; and two, that we need at least a minimum of speaking the truth. Ken Gemes continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Living In The Shadow

Living In The Shadow

By the second half of the twentieth century it was clear to anyone who had their eyes open at all that the grand narratives of Europe’s modernity – narratives of progress, and the emancipation of man, had, in our time, become unbelievable, incredible. Simon Glendinning continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Nihilism, God, and Philosophy

Nihilism, God, and Philosophy

Nihilism states that there is no sustainer, such as God, of lasting purpose, meaning, or hope for human life, even if humans create their own transitory purpose, meaning, or hope. What kind of evidence would it take to confirm the truth of nihilism? It would have to confirm that God does not exist, and that is a tall order. Perhaps God exists but is not promiscuous, casual, or easy in giving divine self-evidence to humans. That is a live option, even if widely neglected among inquirers.Paul K. Moser continues Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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Being or Becoming?

Being or Becoming?

Philosophy for me, almost from the start, manifested as something like an argument between Plato and Nietzsche incessantly enacted in my head. Being or Becoming? Substance or flux? Truth or falsification? And the argument played out in the context of another contentious issue, namely whether philosophy is, or should be, akin to science or to art. Though I’m at home in the Analytic tradition, and though science (including the philosophy and history thereof) influenced me deeply, I have always been moved to infuse my philosophy with my creativity. Mark Anderson kick starts Steven DeLay's series Finding Meaning in the age of Nihilism

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