David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Papers 34 (3):379-403 (2005)
In this paper I explore in a preliminary way the interconnections among narrative explanation, narrative value, free will, an immortality. I build on the fascinating an suggestive work of David Velleman. I offer the hypothesis that our acting freely is what gives our lives a distinctive kind of value - narrative value. Free Will, then, is connected to the capacity to lead a meaningful life in a quite specific way: it is the ingredient which, when aded to others, enows us with a meaning over an above the cumulative value erived from ading together levels of momentary welfare. In acting freely, we are writing a sentence in the story of our lives, and the value of acting freely is thus a species of the value of artistic creativity or self-expression (understood appropriately). Finally, I contend that the fact that our lives are stories need not entail that they have endings, or that immortality would necessarily be unimaginable or essentially different from ordinary, finite human life. Yes, a certain sort of narrative understanding of our lives as a whole would be impossible in the context of immortality; but much of what we care about, and value, in our stories might remain.
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References found in this work BETA
J. David Velleman (2003). Narrative Explanation. Philosophical Review 112 (1):1-25.
J. David Velleman (1991). Well-Being and Time. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):48-77.
Citations of this work BETA
John Martin Fischer (2012). Semicompatibilism and Its Rivals. Journal of Ethics 16 (2):117-143.
John Martin Fischer & Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin (2014). Immortality and Boredom. Journal of Ethics 18 (4):353-372.
Thaddeus Metz (2007). New Developments in the Meaning of Life. Philosophy Compass 2 (2):196–217.
Roman Altshuler (forthcoming). Free Will, Narrative, and Retroactive Self-Constitution. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-17.
T. J. Mawson (2013). Recent Work on the Meaning of Life and Philosophy of Religion. Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1138-1146.
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