A Meaningful Life amidst a Pluralism of Cultures and Values

John Lachs’s Stoic Pragmatism as a Philosophical and Cultural Project


There is a growing concern about living a meaningful life among those living in different contexts of cultural diversity, be it the American melting pot, the union of European nations, the multiculturally globalized, the multiformity of tribalism of various stripes, and the fashionable cyber bubbles of opinion and commentary that drive the outlooks of millions of uninformed consumers. This book argues for a wisdom that incorporates a reference for both knowledge and self-knowledge, as well as life experience and cultural traditions that have stood the test of time, all contributing to a framework in which we can navigate our lives.

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Krzysztof (Chris) Piotr Skowroński, Ph.D. from Wroclaw University (1998), teaches Social Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Multiculturalism at the University of Opole, Poland, and serves as Scientific Affairs Manager at Berlin Practical Philosophy International Forum e.V., Germany. He has written, edited and co-edited around fifteen books on contemporary culture, philosophy, American pragmatism and George Santayana. He blogs at chrisskowronski.com.



Introduction Lachs’s Stoic Pragmatism: Philosophical Background and Cultural Aspirations
 1 American Pragmatism as a Cultural Project

 2 What is Stoic Pragmatism?

 3 Santayana’s Thought as an Inspiration

 4 John Lachs as a Stoic Pragmatist

 5 Lachs on American Culture and Its Universalist Aspirations

 6 Modern Stoicism and the Growing Relevance of Stoic Ethics in Contemporary Culture

 7 Methodological Concerns

 8 Current Status of Lachs’s Stoic Pragmatism Scholarship

 1 Introductory Remarks on Different Meanings of “Culture” and “Value”

 2 What Does “Contemporary Western Culture” Mean?

 3 The Contingency of Ideas of Who We Are

 4 The Internet and the Digital Revolution

 5 Pluralism of Values

 6 Cultural Diversity

 7 A Possible Cost We Pay for Our Comfort

 8 What Does This Diagnosis Tell Us about Thoughtless Individualism and the Risk of Meaningless Lives?

 1 Dignity

 2 Humanism and Primitive Naturalism

 3 Women and “Stoic Feminism”

 4 The Agent’s Limited Autonomy

 5 The Widening Circles of Concern (Oikeiôsis)

 6 Fortitude and Physical Disability

 7 Finitude

 8 A Good Life, a Happy Life, a Successful Life, a Meaningful Life: How to Assess Them and What Is the Difference?

3Appropriate Actions
 1 Approaching Wisdom as an Appropriate Set of Actions

 2 The Good Enough: between Meliorism and Perfectionism

 3 An Agent’s Attitude towards Life

 4 Appropriate Non-actions: the Rat Race and the Consumer’s Fallacy

 5 Dichotomy of Control and Immunity to Maltreatment as a Life Strategy

 6 The Meaningful Life as a Lifelong Project: Vision, Mission (on Values), Happiness (Eudaimonia)

 7 Philosophy as a Guide to Life Amidst a Pluralism of Cultures and Values

 8 Toleration and the Virtue of Leaving Others Alone

 9 What to Do during the Pandemic?

4Activities, Spirituality, and Self-therapy
 1 Activities and the Fallacy of Separation

 2 The Meaningful Moments of the Present

 3 Joy

 4 Self-therapy

 5 A Transcendence-in-Experience Spirituality

 6 Is Religion Irrelevant?

5A Meaningful Life as a Collective Culture Project
 1 The Meaningful Life as a Meliorative Contribution to Collective Culture

 2 Humanist Rhetoric

 3 Teaching as a Cultural Project: Positive Pluralism, Appropriate Choices, and Role Models

 4 Practicing Philosophy as Culture Criticism: Cultural Relativism, Cosmopolitanism, Pluralism of Cultural Perfections, and Culture Wars

 5 Cultural Immortality or Cultural Afterlife as a Form of Secular Immortality

6Digital Culture
 1 Digital-Culture Public Intellectual

 2  dc ’s 90-9-1 Rule and Public Intellectuals as Superusers (within Their Circles of Concern)

 3 Public Intellectuals’ Courage to Teach Possibilities and to Confront Hate Speech

 4 Images, Visuality, and the Aestheticization of Ethical Content

 5 The Main Thesis

 6 Selected Practices for Stoic Pragmatists’ Visual Presence in Digital Culture

 7 Side Effects: Methodological Reliability of Aestheticization and Visualization in Question

 8 Humanization of Cyberspace

7Possible Criticisms
 1 Is Stoic Pragmatism Needed at All?

 2 Is There Any Target Audience for sp ?

 3 Is Not sp Internally Split?

 4 Does sp Promote Virtue Ethics or Utilitarian Ethics?

 5 Is Not sp ’s Eclecticism and Questionable Doctrinal Purity Its Weakest Point?

 6 Is Not sp about a Slave Mentality, an Escapism into a Passive Comfort Zone Resulting in Cultural Impotence? Where Is the Transformative and Melioristic Activism in sp ?

 7 Is Politics Indifferent? Does Not sp Avoid Politics by Having No Political Agenda?

 8 Is Not sp Silent about Current Identity and Cultural Diversity Policies?

 9 Eastern European Stoic Pragmatist Perspective on Diversity Policies

 10 Is apa ’s Criticism of “Emotional Stoicism” Justified?

 11 Any Future Developments for sp ? Is Not sp ’s Humanism Dysfunctional in the Time of Posthumanism and Transhumanism?





All interested in practical philosophy and humanities in contemporary contexts of Western culture.
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