TitleMeaning, Morality, and the Good: Articulating the Self through Nietzsche, Sartre, Taylor, and Murdoch
AbstractIn this paper, I seek to establish a Best Account of the self as it relates to two of the self’s fundamental components, meaning and morality. Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre’s phenomenological accounts of the self heavily influence contemporary thinking about the self, but I argue that their accounts of meaning and morality are insufficient to explain the whole of those concepts, and thus, the whole of the self. Applying the thought of Charles Taylor and Iris Murdoch, I seek to articulate a Best Account of the self which more fully addresses morality and meaning. Additionally, I discuss the utility of narrative art in articulating the self and argue that good narrative art supports my teleological ontology. In the first chapter, I summarize Nietzsche’s and Sartre’s notions of the self and what their ideas entail about meaning and morality. In the second chapter, analyzing the thought of Taylor, Murdoch, and Susan Wolf, I articulate an alternate explanatory account of the self. In the third chapter, I discuss narrative art and its power to reveal and articulate aspects of the self. The moral self is not limitable to a Nietzschean ‘becoming’ or an existential ‘willing’ but must be explained in relation to the Good, an object of attention and love, an end for moral growth, and grounding for meaning and morality.