Death, Futility, and the Proleptic Power of Narrative Ending

Religious Studies 47 (2):141-163 (2011)

Authors
Joshua Seachris
University of Notre Dame
Abstract
Death and futility are among a cluster of themes that closely track discussions of life’s meaning. Moreover, futility is thought to supervene on naturalistic meta-narratives because of how they will end. While the nature of naturalistic meta-narrative endings is part of the explanation for concluding that such meta-narratives are cosmically or deeply futile, this explanation is truncated. I argue that the reason the nature of the ending is thought to be normatively important is first anchored in the fact that narrative ending qua ending is thought to be normatively important. Indeed, I think futility is often thought to characterize naturalistic meta-narratives because a narrative’s ending has significant proleptic power to elicit a wide range of broadly normative human responses on, possibly, emotional, aesthetic, and moral levels towards the narrative as a whole.
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DOI 10.1017/S0034412510000223
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Mortal Questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.
Narrative Explanation.J. David Velleman - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (1):1-25.
The Sense of an Ending.Frank Kermode - 1967 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.
Can Only Human Lives Be Meaningful?Joshua Lewis Thomas - 2018 - Philosophical Papers 47 (2):265-297.
Whole Lives and Good Deaths.Kathy Behrendt - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (3):331-347.

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