The Sense of Life – Jean-Luc Nancy and Emmanuel Lévinas

Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 47 (4):347-361 (2016)
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Abstract

ABSTRACTMetaphysics has long been regarded as providing meaning to the world. Subsequent progressive replacement attempts of this narrative by a scientific approach have generally led to a view of life as being void of meaning. However, this has not affected the quest for meaning or for an understanding of this meaning, despite an increasing societal neglect of the importance of its pursuit. This article aims to contribute to a philosophical understanding of the sense of life in the world, drawing on Jean-Luc Nancy's understanding of sense as developed in his Sense of the World. To talk of “sense” rather than of “meaning” is an unconventional choice in the field, yet both differ from one another in that sense refers to an opening as the very possibility of meaningfulness generally. This means that, to understand meaning, we must understand sense. Key to Nancy's conception of sense is the transitivity of the verb being; being traverses itself from being as non-being “to” being as existence. Nancy is concer...

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References found in this work

Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity.Charles Taylor - 1994 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1):187-190.
Meaning in Life and Why It Matters (Markus Rüther).Susan Wolf - 2011 - Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 64 (3):308.
Being singular plural.Jean-Luc Nancy - 2000 - Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
The Selfish Gene. [REVIEW]Gunther S. Stent & Richard Dawkins - 1977 - Hastings Center Report 7 (6):33.

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