A “pure” objectivist thinks that being the object of aperson's mental states plays no role in making that person's lifemeaningful. Relatively few objectivists are pure, so construed. Thatis, a large majority of them believe that a life is more meaningfulnot merely because of objective factors, but also in part because ofsubjective ones such as cognition, affection, and emotion. Mostcommonly held is the hybrid view captured by Susan Wolf's pithyslogan: “Meaning arises when subjective attraction meetsobjective attractiveness” (Wolf 1997a, 211; see also Hepburn1965; Kekes 1986, 2000; Wiggins 1988; Wolf 1997b, 2002, 2010; Dworkin2000, ch. 6; Raz 2001, ch. 1; Schmidtz 2001; Starkey 2006; Mintoff2008). This theory implies that no meaning accrues to one's life ifone believes in, is satisfied by, or cares about a project that is notworthwhile, or if one takes up a worthwhile project but fails to judgeit important, be satisfied by it, care about it or otherwise identifywith it. Different versions of this theory will have differentaccounts of the appropriate mental states and of worthwhileness.
This survey critically discusses approaches to meaning in life that are prominent in contemporary Anglo-American philosophical literature. To provide context, sometimes it mentions other texts, e.g., in Continental philosophy or from before the 20th century. However, the central aim is to acquaint the reader with recent analytic work on life's meaning and to pose questions about itthat are currently worthy of consideration.
What I mean by the "meaning of life", is the greater picture.
Plato has reasoned, Darwin has investigated, Tyndall has experimented; yet the answer that comes back to our inquiry is but the faintest reverberation of the echo, What is life?
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Work has been done to try to make the inferences of these twoarguments stronger, and the basic strategy has been to appeal to thevalue of perfection (Metz 2013, ch. 7). Perhaps the Tolstoian reasonwhy one must live forever in order to make the relevant permanentdifference is an agent-relative need for one to honor an infinitevalue, something qualitatively higher than the worth of, say,pleasure. And maybe the reason why immortality is required in order tomete out just deserts is that rewarding the virtuous requiressatisfying their highest free and informed desires, one of which wouldbe for eternal flourishing of some kind (Goetz 2012). While far fromobviously sound, these arguments at least provide some reason forthinking that immortality is necessary to satisfy the major premiseabout what is required for meaning.
The Meaning Of Life Philosophy Essay - UK Essays | …
However, both arguments are still plagued by a problem facing theoriginal versions; even if they show that meaning depends onimmortality, they do not yet show that it depends on havinga soul. By definition, if one has a soul, then one isimmortal, but it is not clearly true that if one is immortal, then onehas a soul. Perhaps being able to upload one's consciousness into aninfinite succession of different bodies in an everlasting universewould count as an instance of immortality without a soul. Such apossibility would not require an individual to have an immortalspiritual substance (imagine that when in between bodies, theinformation constitutive of one's consciousness were temporarilystored in a computer). What reason is there to think that one musthave a soul in particular for life to be significant?
Meaning of Life Essay Examples & Outline
The other major rationale for a soul-based theory of life's meaning is that a soul is necessary for perfect justice, which, in turn, is necessary for a meaningful life. Life seems nonsensical when the wicked flourish and the righteous suffer, at least supposing there isno other world in which these injustices will be rectified, whether by God or by Karma. Something like this argument can be found in the Biblical chapter Ecclesiastes, and it continues to be defended (Davis 1987; Craig 1994). However, like the previous rationale, the inferential structure of this one seems weak; even if an afterlife were required for just outcomes, it is not obvious why an eternal afterlife should be thought necessary (Perrett 1986, 220).