The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life

Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562 (2013)

Authors
Aaron Smuts
Rhode Island College
Abstract
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 good. I argue that the best theory of the meaning of life should clearly distinguish between subjective fulfillment and objective meaningfulness. The GCA respects the distinction. And it is superior to its leading rivals in the recent literature, most notably those of Erik Wielenberg and Susan Wolf
Keywords meaning of life  well-being  Susan Wolf  Erik Wielenberg  fulfillment  meaning in life  internal meaning
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DOI 10.1111/sjp.12044
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Ethical Intuitionism.Michael Huemer - 2005 - Palgrave Macmillan.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Utilitarianism.John Stuart Mill - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Toward an Ethics of AI Assistants: An Initial Framework.John Danaher - 2018 - Philosophy and Technology 31 (4):629-653.
Meaning in the Lives of Humans and Other Animals.Duncan Purves & Nicolas Delon - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):317-338.
Meaning in Life: In Defense of the Hybrid View.Daan Evers & Gerlinde van Smeden - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (3):355-371.

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