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  1. Addiction, Autonomy, and the Internet: Some ethical considerations.Anna Hartford & Dan J. Stein - 2021
    Despite growing understanding of the addictive qualities of the internet, and rising concerns about the effects of excessive internet use on personal wellbeing and mental health, the corresponding ethical debate is still in its infancy, and many of the relevant philosophical and conceptual frameworks are underdeveloped. Our goal in this chapter is to explore some of this evolving terrain. While there are unique ethical considerations that pertain to the formalisation of a disorder related to excessive internet use, our ethical concerns (...)
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  • Leading Lives: On Happiness and Narrative Meaning.Johan Brännmark - 2003 - Philosophical Papers 32 (3):321-343.
    Abstract In contemporary moral philosophy, the standard way of understanding the constituents of the human good is in terms of a fairly limited number of features that contribute to our happiness independently of how they are situated in our lives. Even when this approach is supplemented by Moorean ideas about organic wholes, it still cannot do justice to the deep importance of how things are situated and even when meaning is seen as an important factor, it still tends to be (...)
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  • Attraction, Aversion, and Meaning in Life.Alisabeth Ayars - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    Desire comes in two kinds: attraction and aversion. But contemporary theories of desire have paid little attention to the distinction, and some philosophers doubt that it is psychologically real. I argue that one reason to think there is a difference between the attitudes, and to care about it, is that attractions and aversions contribute in radically different ways to our well-being. Attraction-motivated activity adds to the good life in a way that aversion-driven activity doesn’t. I argue further that the value (...)
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  • The Value of Consciousness to the One Who Has It.Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - In Geoffrey Lee & Adam Pautz (eds.), The Importance of Being Conscious. Oxford University Press.
    There is a strong intuition that a zombie’s life is never good or bad for the zombie. This suggests that consciousness has a special role in making life good or bad for the one who lives it. What explains this? In this paper, I consider five possible explanations of the intuition that a zombie’s life is never worth living, plus the option of rejecting the intuition. I point out the considerable costs of each option, though making clear which option strikes (...)
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  • Philosophy and Meaning in Life Vol.3.Masahiro Morioka - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy of Life.
    This book is a collection of all the papers and the essay published in the special issue “Philosophy and Meaning in Life Vol.3,” Journal of Philosophy of Life, Vol.11, No.1, 2021, pp.1-154. We held the Third International Conference on Philosophy and Meaning in Life online at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, on July 21–23, 2020. This conference was co-hosted by the Birmingham Centre for Philosophy of Religion, and the Waseda Institute of Life and Death Studies. We accepted about 50 (...)
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  • Externalism, internalism, and meaningful lives.Iddo Landau - 2021 - Ratio 34 (2):137-146.
    This paper argues that participants in the subjectivism/objectivism/hybridism debate, a central issue in recent meaning in life research, conflate two different distinctions marked by the terms objective and subjective, one having to do with the question of whether life's meaningfulness depends on factors internal or external to the agent, the other having to do with the question of whether there is any ‘absolute’ as opposed to ‘relative’ truth about the first question. The paper then argues that a distinctive type of (...)
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  • Conceptualising Meaningful Work as a Fundamental Human Need.Ruth Yeoman - 2014 - Journal of Business Ethics 125 (2):1-17.
    In liberal political theory, meaningful work is conceptualised as a preference in the market. Although this strategy avoids transgressing liberal neutrality, the subsequent constraint upon state intervention aimed at promoting the social and economic conditions for widespread meaningful work is normatively unsatisfactory. Instead, meaningful work can be understood to be a fundamental human need, which all persons require in order to satisfy their inescapable interests in freedom, autonomy, and dignity. To overcome the inadequate treatment of meaningful work by liberal political (...)
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  • Meaningfulness and Identities.Wai-Hung Wong - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (2):123-148.
    Three distinct but related questions can be asked about the meaningfulness of one's life. The first is 'What is the meaning of life?', which can be called 'the cosmic question about meaningfulness'; the second is 'What is a meaningful life?', which can be called 'the general question about meaningfulness'; and the third is 'What is the meaning of my life?', which can be called 'the personal question about meaningfulness'. I argue that in order to deal with all three questions we (...)
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  • Optimistic Naturalism: Scientific Advancement and the Meaning of Life.Dan Weijers - 2014 - Sophia 53 (1):1-18.
    Naturalist theories of the meaning of life are sometimes criticised for not setting the bar high enough for what counts as a meaningful life. Tolstoy’s version of this criticism is that Naturalist theories do not describe really meaningful lives because they do not require that we connect our finite lives with the infinite. Another criticism of Naturalist theories is that they cannot adequately resolve the Absurd—the vast difference between how meaningful our actions and lives appear from subjective and objective viewpoints. (...)
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  • Gelungener Sex.Almut Kristine V. Wedelstaedt - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 7 (1):103-132.
    What is good sex? This question can be evaluated in multiple dimensions, the moral dimension being only one of them. My main thesis in this paper is that a criterion for good sex is whether the participants are on a par with each other. This can be understood as a moral ideal. In order to make this argument, I first explain what is meant by “sex”. This is, on the one hand, to delineate clearly which phenome-na are included in the (...)
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  • Hedonism and the Good Life.Christine Vitrano - 2020 - Journal of Value Inquiry 54 (1):21-40.
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  • Pascal’s Wager and Deciding About the Life-Sustaining Treatment of Patients in Persistent Vegetative State.Jukka Varelius - 2011 - Neuroethics 6 (2):277-285.
    An adaptation of Pascal’s Wager argument has been considered useful in deciding about the provision of life-sustaining treatment for patients in persistent vegetative state. In this article, I assess whether people making such decisions should resort to the application of Pascal’s idea. I argue that there is no sufficient reason to give it an important role in making the decisions.
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  • Ending Life, Morality, and Meaning.Jukka Varelius - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):559-574.
    Opponents of voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide often maintain that the procedures ought not to be accepted because ending an innocent human life would both be morally wrong in itself and have unfortunate consequences. A gravely suffering patient can grant that ending his life would involve such harm but still insist that he would have reason to continue living only if there were something to him in his abstaining from ending his life. Though relatively rarely, the notion of meaning of (...)
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  • Public policy and the conditional value of happiness.Jan-Willem van der Rijt - 2013 - Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):381-408.
    This paper examines the increasingly popular view that new insights from the science of subjective well-being (SSWB) should play a prominent role in the determination of public policy. Though there are instrumental reasons for caring about societal happiness too, these political aspirations of the SSWB appear to be mostly intrinsically motivated. As the intrinsic value of happiness is endorsed across the political happiness as a fitting response to the state of the world, authenticity, and merit – it is shown that (...)
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  • The question of happiness in African philosophy.Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (4):513-522.
  • Intended and Unintended Life.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2012 - Philosophical Forum 43 (4):395-403.
    Some people feel threatened by the thought that life might have arisen by chance. What is it about “chance” that some people find so threatening? If life originated by chance, this suggests that life was unintended and that it was not inevitable. It is ironic that people care about whether life in general was intended, but may not have ever wondered whether their own existence was intended by their parents. If it does not matter to us whether one's own existence (...)
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  • Historical Responsibility and Liberal Society.Janna Thompson - 2009 - Intergenerational Justice Review 1 (1).
    Why should leaders of polities; as representatives of citizens; be required to apologise and make reparations for deeds committed in the historical past? Assumptions commonly made by liberals about the scope of responsibility and the duties of citizens make this question difficult to answer. This paper considers some unsuccessful attempts within a liberal framework to defend obligations of reparation for historical injustices and puts forward an account based on the lifetime-transcending interests of citizens.
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  • Meaningfulness and Kinds of Normative Reasons.John Symons - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (1):459-471.
    Meaningfulness is the dimension of importance that exists for beings capable of adjudicating between competing kinds of normative reasons. The way an agent decides to rank competing values in terms of importance reflects that agent’s understanding of what counts as meaningful. We can imagine agents who do not engage in this kind of deliberation. Agents who fail to adjudicate between kinds of normative reasons can still act in ways that are prudentially valuable, aesthetically pleasing, and morally praiseworthy. While the actions (...)
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  • The Worst Things in Life.Wayne Sumner - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (3):419-432.
    One important test of adequacy for a theory of welfare is completeness. To be complete a theory must cover ill-being as well as well-being. Call this the ill-being test for a theory. The author’s aim in this article is to determine how well equipped the leading theories of welfare are to pass this test. The author reaches three modest conclusions: passing the test is not straightforward for any theory; on the whole, subjective theories do better than objective ones; within the (...)
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  • Digital Wellness and Persuasive Technologies.Laura Specker Sullivan & Peter Reiner - 2019 - Philosophy and Technology 34 (3):413-424.
    The development of personal technologies has recently shifted from devices that seek to capture user attention to those that aim to improve user well-being. Digital wellness technologies use the same attractive qualities of other persuasive apps to motivate users towards behaviors that are personally and socially valuable, such as exercise, wealth-management, and meaningful communication. While these aims are certainly an improvement over the market-driven motivations of earlier technologies, they retain their predecessors’ focus on influencing user behavior as a primary metric (...)
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  • What Is the Question to which Anti-Natalism Is the Answer?Nicholas Smyth - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):1-17.
    The ethics of biological procreation has received a great deal of attention in recent years. Yet, as I show in this paper, much of what has come to be called procreative ethics is conducted in a strangely abstract, impersonal mode, one which stands little chance of speaking to the practical perspectives of any prospective parent. In short, the field appears to be flirting with a strange sort of practical irrelevance, wherein its verdicts are answers to questions that no-one is asking. (...)
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  • To Be or Never to Have Been: Anti-Natalism and a Life Worth Living.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):711-729.
    David Benatar argues that being brought into existence is always a net harm and never a benefit. I disagree. I argue that if you bring someone into existence who lives a life worth living, then you have not all things considered wronged her. Lives are worth living if they are high in various objective goods and low in objective bads. These lives constitute a net benefit. In contrast, lives worth avoiding constitute a net harm. Lives worth avoiding are net high (...)
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  • The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.
    I defend the theory that one's life is meaningful to the extent that one promotes the good. Call this the good cause account (GCA) of the meaning of life. It holds that the good effects that count towards the meaning of one's life need not be intentional. Nor must one be aware of the effects. Nor does it matter whether the same good would have resulted if one had not existed. What matters is that one is causally responsible for the (...)
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  • The Power to Make Others Worship.Aaron Smuts - 2012 - Religious Studies 48 (2):221 - 237.
    Can any being worthy of worship make others worship it? I think not. By way of an analogy to love, I argue that it is perfectly coherent to think that one could be made to worship. However, forcing someone to worship violates their autonomy, not because worship must be freely given, but because forced worship would be inauthentic—much like love earned through potions. For this reason, I argue that one cannot be made to worship properly; forced worship would be unfitting. (...)
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  • It’s a Wonderful Life.Aaron Smuts - 2012 - Film and Philosophy 16:15-33.
    It’s a Wonderful Life (Capra, 1946) presents a plausible theory of the meaning of life: One's life is meaningful to the extent that it promotes the good. Although this theory is credible, the movie suggests a problematic refinement in the Pottersville sequence. George's waking nightmare asks us to compare the actual world with a world where he did not exist. It tells us that we are only responsible for the good that would not exist had we not existed. I argue (...)
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  • Five Tests for What Makes a Life Worth Living.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Journal of Value Inquiry 47 (4):1-21.
    I evaluate four historically precedented tests for what makes a life worth living: (1) The Suicide Test (Camus), (2) The Recurrence Test (Schopenhauer and Nietzsche), (3) The Extra Life Test (Cicero and Hume), and (4) The Preferring Not to Have Been Test (Job and Williams). I argue that all four fail and tentatively defend the heuristic value of a fifth, The Pre-Existence Test for what makes a life worth living: (5) A life worth living is one that a benevolent caretaker (...)
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  • Must Pessimists Be Suicidal?Joshua Shaw - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-17.
  • The Well- and Unwell-Being of a Child.Christina Schües & Christoph Rehmann-Sutter - 2013 - Topoi 32 (2):197-205.
    The concept of the ‘well-being of the child’ (like the ‘child’s welfare’ and ‘best interests of the child’) has remained underdetermined in legal and ethical texts on the needs and rights of children. As a hypothetical construct that draws attention to the child’s long-term welfare, the well-being of the child is a broader concept than autonomy and happiness. This paper clarifies some conceptual issues of the well-being of the child from a philosophical point of view. The main question is how (...)
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  • Eine Bedrohung für den Sinn? Human Enhancement und das sinnvolle Leben.Markus Rüther - 2021 - Ethik in der Medizin 33 (4):467-483.
    Das allgemeine Thema des Artikels besteht darin, zwei Diskussionskreise miteinander zu verbinden, die in Isolation betrachtet gut erforscht sind, aber selten zusammengebracht werden: die Diskussion um das sogenannte Human Enhancement und die Debatte um das sinnvolle Leben. Hierbei wird insbesondere die Behauptung ins Blickfeld gerückt, dass Techniken des Human Enhancement einen negativen Einfluss auf den Sinn haben könnten. Ist diese These plausibel? In diesem Artikel wird die These verteidigt, dass diese Frage verneint werden muss. Methodisch werden hierfür drei Varianten untersucht, (...)
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  • The story of a life.Connie S. Rosati - 2013 - Social Philosophy and Policy 30 (1-2):21-50.
    This essay explores the nature of narrative representations of individual lives and the connection between these narratives and personal good. It poses the challenge of determining how thinking of our lives in story form contributes distinctively to our good in a way not reducible to other value-conferring features of our lives. Because we can meaningfully talk about our lives going well for us at particular moments even if they fail to go well overall or over time, the essay maintains that (...)
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  • Relational good and the multiplicity problem.Connie S. Rosati - 2009 - Philosophical Issues 19 (1):205-234.
  • Eliminating ‘ life worth living’.Fumagalli Roberto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):769-792.
    This article argues for the elimination of the concept of life worth living from philosophical vocabulary on three complementary grounds. First, the basic components of this concept suffer from multiple ambiguities, which hamper attempts to ground informative evaluative and classificatory judgments about the worth of life. Second, the criteria proposed to track the extension of the concept of life worth living rest on unsupported axiological assumptions and fail to identify precise and plausible referents for this concept. And third, the concept (...)
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  • Meaning in the lives of humans and other animals.Duncan Purves & Nicolas Delon - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):317-338.
    This paper argues that contemporary philosophical literature on meaning in life has important implications for the debate about our obligations to non-human animals. If animal lives can be meaningful, then practices including factory farming and animal research might be morally worse than ethicists have thought. We argue for two theses about meaning in life: that the best account of meaningful lives must take intentional action to be necessary for meaning—an individual’s life has meaning if and only if the individual acts (...)
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  • “Would my life still be meaningful?”: Intersubjectivism and changing meaning in life.Vincenzo Politi - 2019 - Human Affairs 29 (4):462-469.
    Susan Wolf maintains that the meaningfulness of a life arises when someone acts upon the subjective desire of doing something objectively valuable. This amounts to a hybrid view, which contains both subjectivist and objectivist elements. Wolf’s tentative definition of what is objectively valuable amounts to what, in this article, we define as ‘intersubjectivism’. As it will be argued, however, intersubjectivism poses a number of problems, which are exacerbated in contemporary society and which shed a new light on the problem of (...)
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  • Ambitions.Glen Pettigrove - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (1):53 - 68.
    Ambition is a curiously neglected topic in ethics. It isn’t that philosophers have not discussed it. Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Harrington, Locke, Rousseau, Smith, Santayana and a number of others have discussed ambition. But it has seldom received more than a few paragraphs worth of analysis, in spite of the fact that ambition plays a central role in Western politics (one cannot be elected without it), and in spite of the fact that Machiavelli, Harrington, Locke and Rousseau each considered (...)
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  • No Meaning for Believers? A Reply to Joshua Hochschild.Mirela Oliva - 2021 - Studia Gilsoniana 10 (3):517–544.
    Joshua Hochschild credits John Paul II for the success of the expression “meaning of life” among Christians, but he warns that this expression stems from a modern framework different from classical theism. Hochschild’s criticism challenges theists to clarify how the quest for meaning channels the basic questions of classic theism while advancing new ones. First, I will propose a different historical reconstruction of the “meaning of life,” tracing its origin back to the medieval sensus and its use in Biblical hermeneutics. (...)
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  • Die Eigenständigkeit des sinnvollen Lebens innerhalb des guten Lebens.Sebastian Muders - 2018 - Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 5 (2):79-118.
    Der Beitrag untersucht zwei Vorschläge von Susan Wolf und Thaddeus Metz zur Eigenständigkeit des sinnvollen Lebens gegenüber dem Leben in Wohlergehen sowie dem moralischen Leben und entwickelt diese weiter. Während beide Vorschläge sich auf einen Ansatzpunkt zur Entwicklung ihrer Abgrenzungskriterien beschränken – Arten von Gütern oder Arten motivierender Gründe –, basiert die hier verfochtene Eigenständigkeitsthese auf der Idee, dass eine Kombination beider erforderlich ist, um eine zufriedenstellende Unterscheidung des sinnvollen Lebens vom Leben in Wohlergehen und dem moralisch geführten Leben zu (...)
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  • Transcending absurdity.Joe Mintoff - 2008 - Ratio 21 (1):64–84.
    Many of us experience the activities which fill our everyday lives as meaningful, and to do so we must (and do) hold them to be important. However, reflection undercuts this confidence: our activities are aimed at ends which are arbitrary, in that we have reason to regard our taking them so seriously as lacking justification; they are comparatively insignificant; and they leave little of any real permanence. Even though we take our activities seriously, and our everyday lives to be important, (...)
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  • Utilitarianism and the Meaning of Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2003 - Utilitas 15 (1):50-70.
    This article addresses the utilitarian theory of life's meaning according to which a person's existence is significant just in so far as she makes those in the world better off. One aim is to explore the extent to which the utilitarian theory has counter-intuitive implications about which lives count as meaningful. A second aim is to develop a new, broadly Kantian theory of what makes a life meaningful, a theory that retains much of what makes the utilitarian view attractive, while (...)
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  • The Meaningful and the Worthwhile: Clarifying the Relationships.Thaddeus Metz - 2012 - Philosophical Forum 43 (4):435-448.
    The question I seek to answer is what the relationship is between judgments of people’s lives as meaningful, on the one hand, and as worth living, on the other. Several in the analytic and Continental literature, including the likes of Albert Camus and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and more recently, Robert Solomon and Julian Baggini, have maintained that the two words mean the same thing, in that they have the same referents or even the same sense. My primary aim is to refute (...)
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  • Recent Work on the Meaning of Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2002 - Ethics 112 (4):781-814..
    A critical overview of mainly Anglo-American philosophical literature addressing the meaning of life up to 2002.
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  • God’s Role in a Meaningful Life: New Reflections from Tim Mawson.Thaddeus Metz - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 10 (3):171-191.
    Characteristic of the contemporary field of life's meaning has been the combination of monism in method and naturalism in substance. That is, much of the field has sought to reduce enquiry into life's meaning to one question and to offer a single principle as an answer to it, with this principle typically focusing on ways of living in the physical world as best known by the scientific method. T. J. Mawson's new book, God and the Meanings of Life, provides fresh (...)
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  • Life's ethical symphony.Susan Mendus - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (2):201-218.
    Most modern moral theories are impartialist in character. They perceive the demands of morality as standing in opposition to partial concerns and acting as constraints upon them. In this paper I argue that our partial concerns in general, and our love and concern for others in particular, are not ultimately at odds with the demands of morality, impartially understood, but are the necessary preconditions of our being motivated by impartial morality. If we are to care about morality, we must first (...)
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  • Life’s Ethical Symphony.Susan Mendus - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (2):201-218.
    Most modern moral theories are impartialist in character. They perceive the demands of morality as standing in opposition to partial concerns and acting as constraints upon them. In this paper I argue that our partial concerns in general, and our love and concern for others in particular, are not ultimately at odds with the demands of morality, impartially understood, but are the necessary preconditions of our being motivated by impartial morality. If we are to care about morality, we must first (...)
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  • God, the meaning of life, and a new argument for atheism.Jason Megill & Daniel Linford - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (1):31-47.
    We raise various puzzles about the relationship between God and the meaning of life. These difficulties suggest that, even if we assume that God exists, and even if God’s existence would entail that our lives have meaning, God is not and could not be the source of the meaning of life. We conclude by discussing implications of our arguments: these claims can be used in a novel argument for atheism; these claims undermine an extant argument for God’s existence; and they (...)
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  • The Benefits to the Human Spirit of Acting Ethically at Work: The Effects of Professional Moral Courage on Work Meaningfulness and Life Well-Being.Douglas R. May & Matthew D. Deeg - 2021 - Journal of Business Ethics 181 (2):397-411.
    AbstractOrganizations receive multiple benefits when their members act ethically. Of interest in this study is if the actors receive benefits as well, especially as individuals look to work to fulfill psychological and social needs in addition to economic ones. Specifically, we highlight a series of ongoing ethical practices embodied in professional moral courage and their relationship to actor’s work meaningfulness and life well-being. Drawing on self-determination theory and affective events theory, we explore how exercising professional moral courage in one’s work (...)
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  • The Worthwhileness of Meaningful Lives.David Matheson - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):313-324.
    The M → W thesis that a meaningful life must be a worthwhile life follows from an appealing approach to the axiology of life. Yet one of the most prominent voices in the recent philosophy of life literature, Thaddeus Metz, has raised multiple objections to that thesis. With a view to preserving the appeal of the axiological approach from which it follows, I here defend the M → W thesis from Metz’s objections. My defense yields some interesting insights about both (...)
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  • Meaning in the Pursuit of Pleasure.David Matheson - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (3):552-566.
    Here I speak in favor of the view that life's meaning can be found in the pursuit of pleasure. I first present an argument for this view that is grounded in a traditional concept of meaning. To help ease remaining concerns about accepting it, I then draw attention to four things the view does not imply: (1) that we have a reason to take hedonistic theories of meaning seriously; (2) that meaning can be found in the deeply immoral, the deeply (...)
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  • The Normative Value of Making a Positive Contribution–Benefiting Others as a Core Dimension of Meaningful Work.Frank Martela - 2023 - Journal of Business Ethics 185 (4):811-823.
    Most normative accounts of meaningful work have focused on the value of autonomy and capability for self-development. Here, I will propose that contribution–having a positive impact on others through one’s work–is another central dimension of meaningful work. Being able to contribute through one’s work should be recognized as one of the key axiological values that work can serve, providing one independent justification for why work is valuable and worth doing. Conversely, I argue that having to do work that has no (...)
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  • The Aesthetic Enkratic Principle.Irene Martínez Marín - 2023 - British Journal of Aesthetics 63 (2):251–268.
    There is a dimension of rationality, known as structural rationality, according to which a paradigmatic example of what it means to be rational is not to be akratic. Although some philosophers claim that aesthetics falls within the scope of rationality, a non-akrasia constraint prohibiting certain combinations of attitudes is yet to be developed in this domain. This essay is concerned with the question of whether such a requirement is plausible and, if so, whether it is an actual requirement of aesthetic (...)
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