Judging Life and Its Value

Sorites (18):60-75 (2007)
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Abstract

One’s life can be meaningful, but not worth living, or worth living, but not meaningful, which demonstrates that an evaluation of whether life is worth living differs from an evaluation of whether one’s life is meaningful. But how do these evaluations differ? As I will argue, an evaluation of whether life is worth living is a more comprehensive evaluation than the evaluation of whether one’s individual life is meaningful. In judging whether one finds life worth living, one takes into account, not only whether one’s life is meaningful, but undesirable aspects of life such as chronic pain and suffering. For example, a person who is suffering greatly, but who has lived a meaningful life, might still conclude that his or her life is not worth living. Although the famed question about the meaning of life has received most of the attention, I argue that the better and more fruitful question is “Is life worth living?” One should want, not just for one’s life to be meaningful, but for it to be worth living.

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Citations of this work

The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.
The Worthwhileness of Meaningful Lives.David Matheson - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):313-324.
Eliminating ‘ Life Worth Living’.Fumagalli Roberto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):769-792.
Five Tests for What Makes a Life Worth Living.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Journal of Value Inquiry 47 (4):1-21.

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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.

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