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What is Spiritual Life?

Spirituality is the most important normative concept in Eino Kaila's (1890–1958) philosophy. He claims that the pursuit of spiritual life is a need characteristic of the human species and it is man's ethical duty to realise the values it bears. Distinctive characteristics of spiritual life inlude perseverance, depth, a multitude of layers, and authenticity. An obstacle to authenticity is the fact that the realisation of spiritual needs is dependent on the driving force of animal needs. In his justification of spiritual values Kaila displays features of emotivist, evolutionist and traditionalist conceptions. He gives value judgements an emotivist interpretation as non-cognitive and non-representational suggestive signals which express needs and emotions. Differently from emotivism, Kaila regards spiritual values as intersubjectively valid, based on the status of spirituality as the highest stage of development in the biological evolution. The core content of spiritual morality outlined in Kaila's thinking is the value of love for one's neighbour. His metaethical conceptions of the general psychological impossibility of an authentically spiritual life and the mutually incompatible ideas of the justification of spiritual values remain the problems of his theory.

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