De Ethica 4 (3):67-79 (2017)

Authors
Christopher Woodard
Nottingham University
Abstract
Most philosophers writing on meaning in life agree that it is a distinct kind of final value. This consensus view has two components: the ‘final value claim’ that meaning in life is a kind of final value, and the ‘distinctness claim’ that it is distinct from all other kinds of final value. This paper discusses some difficulties in vindicating both claims at once. One way to underscore the distinctness of meaning, for example, is to retain a feature of our pretheoretical concept of meaning in life, according to which the least possible quantity of meaning is meaninglessness. Unfortunately, this makes it harder to defend the claim that meaning is a kind of final value. On the other hand, revising the concept to allow for negative meaning renders meaning closer in structure to other kinds of final value, but also makes it harder to defend the distinctness claim. In light of these difficulties, the paper explores the prospects of a theory of meaning in life which departs from the consensus view by rejecting the final value claim. On such a view, the value of meaning in life is entirely instrumental.
Keywords Meaning in Life  Meaninglessness  Negative Meaning  Value
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2017
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
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.
The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.
Well-Being as Enjoying the Good.Shelly Kagan - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):253-272.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Fundamentality and Extradimensional Final Value.David Matheson - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):19-32.
The Immortal, the Intrinsic and the Quasi Meaning of Life.Mark Rowlands - 2015 - The Journal of Ethics 19 (3-4):379-408.
Does Death Give Meaning to Life?Brooke Alan Trisel - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (2):62-81.
Reconsidering Meaning in Life: A Philosophical Dialogue with Thaddeus Metz.Masahiro Morioka (ed.) - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life, Waseda University.
The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-09-20

Total views
148 ( #58,633 of 2,326,047 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
64 ( #8,807 of 2,326,047 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes