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  1. Consequentialism About Meaning in Life.Ben Bramble - 2015 - Utilitas 27 (4):445-459.
    What is it for a life to be meaningful? In this article, I defend what I call Consequentialism about Meaning in Life, the view that one's life is meaningful at time t just in case one's surviving at t would be good in some way, and one's life was meaningful considered as a whole just in case the world was made better in some way for one's having existed.
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  • Risalat Al-Tayr: The Symbolic Metanarrative of the Meaning of Life.Saham Mokhles, Reza Akbari, Reza Sharabini & Gita Moghimi - 2016 - Avicennian Philosophy Journal 20 (56):103-118.
    Risalat-al-Tayr is the symbolic story of the fall of the soul/intellect from the heavenly world, its being captivated in the mundane world, and its effort for liberation and eternal unification with intellectus agens. There are many symbols in the story including bird, hunter, trap, homesickness, journey, captivity, mountain etc. In this treatise, Avicenna proposes a supernaturalistic theory of the meaning of life, according to which the life will be meaningful only if a person discovers an essential goal in her life (...)
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  • On ‘Hybrid’ Theories of Personal Good.Thomas Hurka - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (4):450-462.
    ‘Hybrid’ theories of personal good, defended by e.g. Parfit, Wolf, and Kagan, equate it, not with a subjective state such as pleasure on its own, nor with an objective state such as knowledge on its own, but with a whole that supposedly combines the two. These theories apply Moore's principle of organic unities, which says the value of a whole needn't equal the sum of the values its parts would have by themselves. This allows them, defenders say, to combine the (...)
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  • Painful Art and the Limits of Well-Being.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - In Jerrold Levinson (ed.), Suffering Art Gladly: The Paradox of Negative Emotions in Art. Palgrave/ Macmillan.
    In this chapter I explore what painful art can tell us about the nature and importance of human welfare. My goal is not so much to defend a new solution to the paradox of tragedy, as it is to explore the implications of the kinds of solutions that I find attractive. Both nonhedonic compensatory theories and constitutive theories explain why people seek out painful art, but they have troublesome implications. On some narrow theories of well-being, they imply that painful art (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Meaningfulness as Contribution.Frank Martela - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (2):232-256.
    This article aims to offer a refined way of understanding what we mean by the concepts of meaningfulness and meaning in life. The first step is to separate worthwhileness, as the broadest evaluation of life taking all types of values into account, from meaningfulness, which is seen as one type of intrinsic value along with, for example, well-being, moral praiseworthiness, and authenticity, which I argue are also separate types of intrinsic value. After discussing why we should not settle with the (...)
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  • Digital Wellness and Persuasive Technologies.Laura Specker Sullivan & Peter Reiner - forthcoming - Philosophy and Technology:1-12.
    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 Will Be Best for Me? Big Decisions and the Problem of Inter‐World Comparisons.Peter Baumann - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (2):253-273.
    Big decisions in a person’s life often affect the preferences and standards of a good life which that person’s future self will develop after implementing her decision. This paper argues that in such cases the person might lack any reasons to choose one way rather than the other. Neither preference-based views nor happiness-based views of justified choice offer sufficient help here. The available options are not comparable in the relevant sense and there is no rational choice to make. Thus, ironically, (...)
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  • The No-Self View and the Meaning of Life.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2019 - Philosophy East and West 69 (2):419-438.
    Several philosophers, both in Buddhist and Western philosophy, claim that the self does not exist. The no-self view may, at first glance, appear to be a reason to believe that life is meaningless. In the present article, I argue indirectly in favor of the no-self view by showing that it does not entail that life is meaningless. I then examine Buddhism and argue, further, that the no-self view may even be construed as partially grounding an account of the meaning of (...)
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  • Can Life Be Meaningful Without Free Will?Drew Chastain - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (4):1069-1086.
    If we lack deep free agency, like that supposed by metaphysical libertarianism, should we view life as meaningless, pointless, or not worth living? Here I present a new argument in support of meaning-compatibilism, or the view that life can indeed be meaningful without our having deep free agency. I show that this argument secures meaning-compatibilism more effectively than an argument provided by Derk Pereboom. In the process, we learn that Susan Wolf’s hybrid theory of meaning in life is not equipped (...)
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  • Value in Very Long Lives.Preston Greene - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (4):416-434.
    As things currently stand, our deaths are unavoidable and our lifespans short. It might be thought that these qualities leave room for improvement. According to a prominent line of argument in philosophy, however, this thought is mistaken. Against the idea that a longer life would be better, it is claimed that negative psychological states, such as boredom, would be unavoidable if our lives were significantly longer. Against the idea that a deathless life would be better, it is claimed that such (...)
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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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  • Hybrid Theories.Christopher Woodard - 2015 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 161-174.
    This chapter surveys hybrid theories of well-being. It also discusses some criticisms, and suggests some new directions that philosophical discussion of hybrid theories might take.
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  • The Reward of Virtue: An Essay on the Relationship Between Character and Well-Being.Ian Stoner - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Minnesota
    Most work in neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics begins by supposing that the virtues are the traits of character that make us good people. Secondary questions, then, include whether, why, and in what ways the virtues are good for the people who have them. This essay is an argument that the neo-Aristotelian approach is upside down. If, instead, we begin by asking what collection of character traits are good for us---that is, what collection of traits are most likely to promote our own (...)
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  • آثار جدید درباره معناى زندگى (Farsi: 'Recent Work on the Meaning of Life’).Thaddeus Metz - 2003 - Naqd Va Nazar: Quarterly Journal of Philosophy and Theology 8 (29-30):266-313.
    Persian translation by Mohsen Javadi of 'Recent Work on the Meaning of Life' (first published in Ethics 2002).
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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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  • A Life Worth Living.Aaron Smuts - manuscript
    Theories of well-being tell us what makes a life good for the one who lives it. But there is more to what makes a life worth living than just well-being. We care about the worth of our lives, and we are right to do so. I defend an objective list theory of the worth of a life: The most worthwhile lives are those high in various objective goods. These principally include welfare and meaning. By distinguishing between worth and welfare, we (...)
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  • Narrative and Meaning in Life.Helena de Bres - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (5):545-571.
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  • Human Extinction, Narrative Ending, and Meaning of Life.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 6 (1):1-22.
    Some people think that the inevitability of human extinction renders life meaningless. Joshua Seachris has argued that naturalism can be conceptualized as a meta-narrative and that it narrates across important questions of human life, including what is the meaning of life and how life will end. How a narrative ends is important, Seachris argues. In the absence of God, and with knowledge that human extinction is a certainty, is there any way that humanity could be meaningful and have a good (...)
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  • It's a Wonderful Life: Pottersville and the Meaning of 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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  • 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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  • Die Eigenständigkeit des sinnvollen Lebens innerhalb des guten Lebens.Sebastian Muders - 2018 - Zeitschrift Für Praktische Philosophie 5 (2).
    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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  • Sinn- eine dritte Dimension des guten Lebens?Christoph Halbig - 2018 - Zeitschrift Für Praktische Philosophie 5 (2).
    Die These, dass neben dem Wohlergehen und der Moral der Sinn eine dritte, irreduzibel eigenständige und fundamentale Dimension des guten Lebens darstellt, hat im Zuge des erneuten Interesses an der Kategorie des Sinns breite Beachtung gefunden. Das Ziel dieses Beitrags besteht erstens darin zu erkunden, was diese These eigentlich beinhaltet. Bei näherer Prüfung zeigt sich nämlich, dass die These auch und gerade von ihren Vertretern bisher überwiegend durch Appelle an Intuitionen und durch Abgrenzung zu alternativen Positionen, aber eben nur unzureichend (...)
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  • Eliminating ‘ Life Worth Living’.Fumagalli Roberto - 2017 - 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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  • Two Visions of Welfare.Fred Feldman - 2019 - Journal of Ethics 23 (2):99-118.
    In earlier work I defended Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism—a view about what makes for individual personal welfare. On this view, a person’s level of welfare is entirely determined by the amounts of intrinsic attitudinal pleasure and pain he or she takes in things. The view seems to run into trouble in cases involving individuals who take their pleasure in disgusting, immoral things; and in cases involving individuals who take their pleasure in things that really don’t actually happen; and in cases involving (...)
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  • The State’s Duty to Ensure Children Are Loved.Luara Ferracioli - 2014 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8 (2):1-19.
    Do children have a right to be loved? An affirmative answer faces two immediate challenges: (i) a child's basic needs can be met without love, therefore a defence of such a right cannot appeal to the role of love in protecting children's most basic needs, and (ii) since love is non-voluntary, it seems that there cannot be a corresponding duty on the part of parents to love their child. In this essay, I defend an affirmative answer that overcomes both of (...)
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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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  • Unreliable Love.Andre Grahle - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (2):1-8.
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  • Technological Unemployment, Meaning in Life, Purpose of Business, and the Future of Stakeholders.Tae Wan Kim & Alan Scheller-Wolf - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics:1-19.
    We offer a precautionary account of why business managers should proactively rethink about what kinds of automation firms ought to implement, by exploring two challenges that automation will potentially pose. We engage the current debate concerning whether life without work opportunities will incur a meaning crisis, offering an argument in favor of the position that if technological unemployment occurs, the machine age may be a structurally limited condition for many without work opportunities to have or add meaning to their lives. (...)
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  • After Postmodernism: Meaning of Life and Education.Iddo Landau - 2018 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 50 (14):1539-1540.
  • 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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  • Pascal’s Wager and Deciding About the Life-Sustaining Treatment of Patients in Persistent Vegetative State.Jukka Varelius - 2013 - 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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  • To Be or Never to Have Been: Anti-Natalism and a Life Worth Living.Aaron Smuts - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):711-729.
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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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  • To Be or Never to Have Been: Anti-Natalism and a Life Worth Living.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (4):1-19.
    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 (LWL), 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 (LWA) constitute a net harm. Lives worth avoiding are (...)
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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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  • The Worthwhileness of Meaningful Lives.David Matheson - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-12.
    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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  • Persons and Value: A Thesis in Population Axiology.Simon Beard - unknown
    My thesis demonstrates that, despite a number of impossibility results, a satisfactory and coherent theory of population ethics is possible. It achieves this by exposing and undermining certain key assumptions that relate to the nature of welfare and personal identity. I analyse a range of arguments against the possibility of producing a satisfactory population axiology that have been proposed by Derek Parfit, Larry Temkin, Tyler Cowen and Gustaf Arrhenius. I conclude that these results pose a real and significant challenge. However, (...)
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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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  • What Good is Meaning in Life?Christopher Woodard - 2017 - De Ethica 4 (3):67-79.
    Most philosophers writing on meaning in life agree that it is a distinct kind of final value. This consensus view has two components: the ‘final value claim’ that meaning in life is a kind of final value, and the ‘distinctness claim’ that it is distinct from all other kinds of final value. This paper discusses some difficulties in vindicating both claims at once. One way to underscore the distinctness of meaning, for example, is to retain a feature of our pretheoretical (...)
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  • Autonomy, Competence, Relatedness, and Beneficence: A Multicultural Comparison of the Four Pathways to Meaningful Work.Frank Martela & Tapani J. J. Riekki - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Value.Michael J. Zimmerman - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Intrinsic value has traditionally been thought to lie at the heart of ethics. Philosophers use a number of terms to refer to such value. The intrinsic value of something is said to be the value that that thing has “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” or “as such,” or “in its own right.” Extrinsic value is value that is not intrinsic.
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  • Relationships as Indirect Intensifiers: Solving the Puzzle of Partiality.Jörg Löschke - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):390-410.
    Two intuitions are important to commonsense morality: the claim that all persons have equal moral worth and the claim that persons have associative duties. These intuitions seem to contradict each other, and there has been extensive discussion concerning their reconciliation. The most widely held view claims that associative duties arise because relationships generate moral reasons to benefit our loved ones. However, such a view cannot account for the phenomenon that some acts are supererogatory when performed on behalf of a stranger (...)
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  • Life's Ethical Symphony.Susan Mendus - 2008 - 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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  • The Story of a Life*: Connie S. Rosati.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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  • Against Welfare Subjectivism.Eden Lin - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):354-377.
    Subjectivism about welfare is the view that something is basically good for you if and only if, and to the extent that, you have the right kind of favorable attitude toward it under the right conditions. I make a presumptive case for the falsity of subjectivism by arguing against nearly every extant version of the view. My arguments share a common theme: theories of welfare should be tested for what they imply about newborn infants. Even if a theory is intended (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Educating for Autonomy: Liberalism and Autonomy in the Capabilities Approach.Luara Ferracioli & Rosa Terlazzo - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3):443-455.
    Martha Nussbaum grounds her version of the capabilities approach in political liberalism. In this paper, we argue that the capabilities approach, insofar as it genuinely values the things that persons can actually do and be, must be grounded in a hybrid account of liberalism: in order to show respect for adults, its justification must be political; in order to show respect for children, however, its implementation must include a commitment to comprehensive autonomy, one that ensures that children develop the skills (...)
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