Journal of Value Inquiry 47 (4):1-21 (2013)

Authors
Aaron Smuts
Rhode Island College
Abstract
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 with foreknowledge would allow. A life worth avoiding is one that a benevolent caretaker would disallow. This test usefully tracks the general extension of the concept of what makes a life worth living. I consider three objections and note that there appears to be an indeterminate middle category of lives worth neither. Ultimately, I argue that any plausible test will risk circularity or will require a theory of worth to be viable.
Keywords a life worth living  welfare  value of lives  worthwhile  meaning of life  suicide  recurrence
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2013
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s10790-013-9393-x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 52,739
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life.Susan Wolf - 1997 - Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (1):207.
Games and the Good.Thomas Hurka - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (1):217-235.
Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life.Susan Wolf - 1997 - Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (1):207-225.
Recent Work on the Meaning of Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2002 - Ethics 112 (4):781-814..
Immortality and Significance.Aaron Smuts - 2011 - Philosophy and Literature 35 (1):134-149.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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.
A Portable Defense of the Procreation Asymmetry.Jake Earl - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2-3):178-199.
Eliminating ‘ Life Worth Living’.Fumagalli Roberto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):769-792.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-04-02

Total views
283 ( #26,396 of 2,340,252 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
16 ( #39,667 of 2,340,252 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes