This paper draws on an in-depth phenomenological analysis of some interviews taken from volunteers, inviting them to reflect on their lived experiences of meaningfulness in the context of volunteering and citizenship. It is found that while some testimonies reinforce the standard conceptions of meaningfulness, other testimonies vary from it. The main challenge of this contribution consists in phenomenologically describing this alternative picture of meaningfulness, depicted as the event of witnessing. In a final part, the authors consider how volunteering is at (...) times especially prone to further experiences of witnessing. (shrink)
Our natural environment is in a lamentable state, notwithstanding today’s increasing ecological awareness. One cause frequently cited is our diminished perception of and relation to nature on ontological grounds. None of the alternative visions offered to date has been considered to really challenge the prevailing detached utilitarian and empirical framework. However, continued attempts on various levels are needed to rearticulate and reinvigorate the currently dormant and neglected plurality of approaches to nature. Although neither Heidegger nor Levinas was primarily concerned with (...) the relation of humans to nature, their works do seem to offer a voice to express our genuine way of being as a “Dasein in the world,” and the depth of its implications, as well as to reveal the “exteriority of nature.” A close examination of their views can show how they may contribute to a broadening of our perception, so that nature may appear to us not primarily as a commodity but foremost as an inspiring source of meaningfulness that at the same time appeals to our ethical ability. (shrink)
This paper draws on an in-depth phenomenological analysis of some interviews taken from volunteers, inviting them to reflect on their lived experiences of meaningfulness in the context of volunteering and citizenship. It is found that while some testimonies reinforce the standard conceptions of meaningfulness, other testimonies vary from it. The main challenge of this contribution consists in phenomenologically describing this alternative picture of meaningfulness, depicted as the event of wit(h)nessing. In a final part, the authors consider how volunteering is at (...) times especially prone to further experiences of wit(h)nessing. (shrink)
The question of the meaning and meaningfulness of life is neglected by philosophers today. Meaning is implicitly assumed to be associated with individual choices and preferences. This article argues that meaningfulness works in another way as well, when something provokes meaningfulness. One of the consequences of this vision is that there may well be implicit "standards" for meaning. Certain benchmarks for meaning-references concerned with our "being-in-the-world"-have not been explored fully enough. Another point that as been neglected in the recent discussion (...) on meaningfulness is the very structure of being that is appealed to. This is the key to the experience of a deeper kind of meaningfulness. (shrink)
The starting question in this article is: what does globalization mean philosophically? What matters for this article, is not inasmuch the content of the politico-moral claims or the ideological scope of worldviews as described by sociological and political sciences in the process of globalization, but rather a philosophical horizon that exceeds everyday political reality. This stems from a point of view that the debate on globalization and its alternatives is still too often protruded by ideological and idealist arguments. This article (...) will scrutinize what globalization actually means, considered from a philosophical standpoint. In order to investigate the meaning of globe in globalization, we turn to the philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy. (shrink)
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... (shrink)
This final comment provides, a theoretical framework on how to conceive the self as presented in the key-note paper ‘Meaningfulness, volunteering and being moved. The event of witnessing’. This is deemed requisite to achieve a full understanding of how depth in meaningfulness comes about.
This introductory article starts by describing the genesis of this special issue and the interconnection of its topics. The editors offer a variety of reading entries into the key-note articles and responses. The article reconstructs the research interests underpinning the idea of integrating meaningfulness, volunteers and citizenship. It highlights the explicit interdisciplinary design of the special issue, and shows how the key-note authors, and their respondents, weave connections between meaningfulness, volunteering and citizenship. And, finally, the editors bring the background understandings (...) of the key-note papers to the foreground, and reconstruct a non-intentional meta-level discussion on two fundamental concepts and their interplay: self and world. (shrink)
I analyse Drenthen's article 'Ecological restoration and place attachment: emplacing non-places?' (Environmental Values 18(3): 285-312), focusing in particular on his use of the notions of 'appropriation' and 'estrangement' from the perspective of meaningfulness. I show that, for deeper meaningfulness as place attachment, within the appropriable there is always a tension with the non-appropriable; there is a successful connection between both. Estrangement and loss of meaning occur the moment the non-appropriable resides outside the familiar. Drenthen unintentionally causes confusion by failing to (...) take this subtlety into account systematically. (shrink)
This paper describes the relation between the surpassing and ethics. It first describes how we re-think the surpassing. We divide it into a non-reflective and a reflective level. Next we link it to ethics. The point we want to make is that in order for something to be ethical it needs a surpassing element. Yet not all surpassing elements lead to ethics. Therefore, we will first delineate the surpassing.
Philosophers who write about the meaning of life are few nowadays. Thesubject has lost its attractiveness. Perceived from a viewpoint of logical positivism or language philosophy, the whole issue of meaningfulness seems rather pointless. It is often considered to be related to metaphysics, making it less suitable for philosophical inquiry. The topic of meaningfulness seems too intangible. Indeed, the few philosophers that have embarked on examining meaningfulness have proven to be well aware of the challenges this poses. At times they (...) acknowledge that the more they concentrate on the subject, the more it seems to fall apart into unintelligible pieces about whichnothing of philosophical value can be said. (shrink)