An essay on culture


  • Stephan Fuchs
  • Adan Christian Freitas UFSC



Despite much uncertainty about what culture is, where it comes from, and where it goes once it is gone, two core understandings are of culture as meaning and value. Both value and meaning are not well known, let alone understood. We probe some common and conventional understandings of culture, and trace their intellectual history. In the modern history of the West, Kant’s philosophy bestows the highest value on Platonic or Platonist ideas and ideals. But they are already demoted into merely regulative fictions and necessary illusions. After Kant, the history of culture as value and ideal amounts to the ending of their meta-physical and trans-cendental status. Values and ideals first turn into variable and historical a prioris in NeoKantianism and Max Weber, and eventually become facts themselves – the empirical facts of beliefs about values. Nietzsche observes this history of value as an arriving, the advent of nihilism. A sign of this arrival is values being suspected as ideological rationalizations and inflations in which class or status interests and the will-to-power present themselves as Truth. In the light of this truth, culture and values eventually appear as nothing but symbolic objects and cultural capital. The nihilistic erosion of the substance of values means that culture is exhausted and finished, giving rise to, and enabling, its very flourishing as political economics, symbolic industry, and cultural administration.

Biografia do Autor

Adan Christian Freitas, UFSC

Doutor em Sociologia Política pela Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina


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