Imperfection as sufficient for a meaningful life : How much is enough?

In Yujin Nagasawa & Erik J. Wielenberg (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave Macmillan 192--214 (2009)
Supernaturalism about meaning in life appears plausible insofar it is reasonable to think that a meaningful life can come only from a world in which there is a perfect value of some kind. Call the view that meaningfulness depends on perfection the ‘perfection thesis’. My aim in this chapter is to develop the contrasting ‘imperfection thesis’, the claim that a life that is significant on balance does not require any perfect value. I argue that principles that naturalists have offered (or suggested) in the literature are all implausible. None fits the considered judgments that naturalists themselves would, upon reflection, have about which degree of value is sufficient for a person’s existence to be significant. Working within a naturalist mindset, I demonstrate that a new theory needs to be developed, and I indeed develop one that I believe should be weighed up against the perfection thesis in future work.
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