Self and Transcendence


  • Charles W. Vail Independent Scholar



Human Nature, Human Self, Human Flourishing, Human Community, Transcendence, Common Conceptual Ground, Shared Humanity


This essay is a meditation on our shared humanity. By necessity it is a monologue, a statement largely in a single voice, advocating a particular point of view; nevertheless, what is written here humbly is offered as an invitation to enter into a dialogue. The essay begins with an description of the human self in terms of a naturalistic explanation of human nature, as suggested by two different characterizations of humanism. It then continues, moving from potential to informed practice, first by considering the meaning of freedom and equality and then by suggesting how we may transcend the selfishness, fear, and uncer-tainty that are all too common elements of the human condition. The essay concludes by suggesting how we all may enter into meaningful dialogue with one another from the common conceptual ground that is our shared humanity.


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How to Cite

Vail, C. (2016). Self and Transcendence. Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism, 23(2), 235–263.