Philosophical Studies 175 (2):317-338 (2018)

Authors
Nicolas Delon
New College of Florida
Duncan Purves
University of Florida
Abstract
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 intentionally in ways that contribute to finally valuable states of affairs; and that this first thesis does not entail that only human lives are meaningful. Because non-human animals can be intentional agents of a certain sort, our account yields the verdict that many animals’ lives can be meaningful. We conclude by considering the moral implications of these theses for common practices involving animals.
Keywords meaning in life  value  well-being  animals  agency
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-017-0869-6
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References found in this work BETA

The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.Marc H. Bornstein - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.
Meaning in Life and Why It Matters (Markus Rüther).Susan Wolf - 2011 - Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 64 (3):308.
Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1982 - Critica 14 (41):87-93.
Meaningfulness and Time.Antti Kauppinen - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (2):345-377.
Against Welfare Subjectivism.Eden Lin - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):354-377.

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Citations of this work BETA

Animal Agency, Captivity, and Meaning.Nicolas Delon - 2018 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 25:127-146.
Meaningfulness as Sensefulness.Joshua Thomas - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (5):1555-1577.
Can Only Human Lives Be Meaningful?Joshua Lewis Thomas - 2018 - Philosophical Papers 47 (2):265-297.

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