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Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study

Oxford University Press (2013)

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  1. Why the Indifference of the Universe is Irrelevant to Life’s Meaning.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2019 - Human Affairs 29 (4):453-461.
    When pessimists claim that human life is meaningless, they often also assert that the universe is “blind to good and evil” and “indifferent to us”. How, if it all, is the indifference of the universe relevant to whether life is meaningful? To answer this question, and to know whether we should be concerned that the universe is indifferent, we need a clearer and deeper understanding of the concept of “cosmic indifference”, which I will seek to provide. I will argue that (...)
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  • How God Could Assign Us a Purpose Without Disrespect: Reply to Salles.Thaddeus Metz - 2013 - Quadranti - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia Contemporanea 1 (1):99-112.
    In one of the most widely read texts on what makes a life meaningful, composed more than 50 years ago, Kurt Baier presents an intriguing argument against the view that meaning in life would come by fulfilling a purpose God has assigned us. Baier contends that God could not avoid degrading us were He to assign us a purpose, which would mean that God, as a morally ideal being by definition, would not do so. Defenders of God-centred accounts of meaning (...)
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  • Eliminating ‘ Life Worth Living’.Fumagalli Roberto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):769-792.
    This article argues for the elimination of the concept of life worth living from philosophical vocabulary on three complementary grounds. First, the basic components of this concept suffer from multiple ambiguities, which hamper attempts to ground informative evaluative and classificatory judgments about the worth of life. Second, the criteria proposed to track the extension of the concept of life worth living rest on unsupported axiological assumptions and fail to identify precise and plausible referents for this concept. And third, the concept (...)
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  • Examination of Meaning in Life Problem in the Domain of the History of Philosophy and Contemporary Analytical Approaches.Elvira Chukhray - 2014 - Sententiae 31 (2):187-202.
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  • The Purpose of Life and the Meaning in Life: History of Philosophy and Limits of Rational Reconstruction.Elvira Chukhray - 2015 - Sententiae 32 (1):143-152.
    The article analyses whether it is correct to extrapolate the concept of "meaning in life" developed by Thaddeus Metz to the doctrines of ancient philosophers, including Thomas Aquinas. Is Metz’ concept of "purposes" that make "human life" meaningful analogous to Aquinas’ concept of "ultimate goal of man"? Significant points of Metz’ conception of "meaning in life" in our article are described and compared with Aquinas’ conception of "ultimate goal of man." As it turns out, these conceptions are only superficially similar. (...)
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  • Hyperagency and the Good Life – Does Extreme Enhancement Threaten Meaning?John Danaher - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (2):227-242.
    According to several authors, the enhancement project incorporates a quest for hyperagency - i.e. a state of affairs in which virtually every constitutive aspect of agency (beliefs, desires, moods, dispositions and so forth) is subject to our control and manipulation. This quest, it is claimed, undermines the conditions for a meaningful and worthwhile life. Thus, the enhancement project ought to be forestalled or rejected. How credible is this objection? In this article, I argue: “not very”. I do so by evaluating (...)
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  • Mental Evolution and the Universal Meaning of Life.Gregor Flock - manuscript
    Is a universal meaning of life (MoL) possible? In this paper I argue for an affirmative answer: Starting out from the MoL's initial definition as "the active and successful pursuit of the ultimate end in life (UEiL)" and another initial definition of the UEiL, I first introduce four UEiL and MoL categories. In the context of their discussion, I add the elements of non-physical relation and universal scope to the definitions of UEiL and MoL (sect. 2). After those more general (...)
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  • Human Extinction, Narrative Ending, and Meaning of Life.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 6 (1):1-22.
    Some people think that the inevitability of human extinction renders life meaningless. Joshua Seachris has argued that naturalism can be conceptualized as a meta-narrative and that it narrates across important questions of human life, including what is the meaning of life and how life will end. How a narrative ends is important, Seachris argues. In the absence of God, and with knowledge that human extinction is a certainty, is there any way that humanity could be meaningful and have a good (...)
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  • Meaning and More Meaningful. A Modest Measure.Peter Baumann - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):33-49.
    We often describe lives (or parts of lives) as meaningful or as not meaningful. It is also common to characterize them as more or less meaningful. Some lives, we tend to think, are more meaningful than others. But how then can one compare lives with respect to how much meaning they contain? Can one? This paper argues that (i) only a notion of rough equality can be used when comparing different lives with respect to their meaning, and that (ii) the (...)
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  • Meaningfulness (Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being).Antti Kauppinen - 2015 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge.
    This paper is an overview of contemporary theories of meaning in life and its relation to well-being.
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  • Pride, Achievement, and Purpose.Antti Kauppinen - 2017 - In J. Adam Carter & Emma C. Gordon (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Pride. London: Rowman and Littlefield.
    Pride in our own actions tells a story: we faced a challenge, overcame it, and achieved something praiseworthy. In this paper, I draw on recent psychological literature to distinguish to between two varieties of pride, 'authentic' pride that focuses on particular efforts (like guilt) and 'hubristic' pride that focuses on the whole self (like shame). Achievement pride is fitting when either efforts or traits explain our success in meeting contextually relevant, authoritative, and challenging standards without excessive opportunity cost. When it (...)
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  • Does Death Give Meaning to Life?Brooke Alan Trisel - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (2):62-81.
    Some people claim that death makes our lives meaningless. Bernard Williams and Viktor Frankl have made the opposite claim that death gives meaning to life. Although there has been much scrutiny of the former claim, the latter claim has received very little attention. In this paper, I will explore whether and how death gives meaning to our lives. As I will argue, there is not sufficient support for the strong claim that death is necessary for one's life to be meaningful. (...)
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  • Meaning as a Distinct and Fundamental Value: Reply to Kershnar.Thaddeus Metz - 2014 - Science, Religion and Culture 1 (2):101-106.
    In this article, I reply to a critical notice of my book, Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study, that Stephen Kershnar has published elsewhere in this issue of Science, Religion & Culture. Beyond expounding the central conclusions of the book, Kershnar advances two major criticisms of it, namely, first, that I did not provide enough evidence that meaning in life is a genuine value-theoretic category as something distinct from and competing with, say, objective well-being, and, second, that, even if there (...)
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  • The Proper Aim of Therapy: Subjective Well-Being, Objective Goodness, or a Meaningful Life?Thaddeus Metz - 2016 - In Pninit Russo-Netzer, Stefan Schulenberg & Alexander Batthyany (eds.), Clinical Perspectives on Meaning: Positive and Existential Psychotherapy. Springer. pp. 17-35.
    Therapists and related theorists and practitioners of mental health tend to hold one of two broad views about how to help patients. On the one hand, some maintain that, or at least act as though, the basic point of therapy is to help patients become clear about what they want deep down and to enable them to achieve it by overcoming mental blockages. On the other hand, there are those who contend that the aim of therapy should instead be to (...)
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  • Assessing Lives, Giving Supernaturalism Its Due, and Capturing Naturalism: Reply to 13 Critics of Meaning in Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):228-278.
    A lengthy reply to several critical discussions of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ appearing in the _Journal of Philosophy of Life_. The contributors are from a variety of philosophical traditions, including the Anglo-American, Continental and East Asian (especially Buddhist and Japanese) ones.
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  • Reconsidering Meaning in Life: A Philosophical Dialogue with Thaddeus Metz.Masahiro Morioka (ed.) - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life, Waseda University.
    An e-book devoted to 13 critical discussions of Thaddeus Metz's book "Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study", with a lengthy reply from the author. -/- Preface Masahiro Morioka i -/- Précis of Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study Thaddeus Metz ii-vi -/- Source and Bearer: Metz on the Pure Part-Life View of Meaning Hasko von Kriegstein 1-18 -/- Fundamentality and Extradimensional Final Value David Matheson 19-32 -/- Meaningful and More Meaningful: A Modest Measure Peter Baumann 33-49 -/- Is Meaning in (...)
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  • What's So Great About Experience?Antti Kauppinen - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):371-388.
    Suppose that our life choices result in unpredictable experiences, as L.A. Paul has recently argued. What does this mean for the possibility of rational prudential choice? Not as much as Paul thinks. First, what’s valuable about experience is its broadly hedonic quality, and empirical studies suggest we tend to significantly overestimate the impact of our choices in this respect. Second, contrary to what Paul suggests, the value of finding out what an outcome is like for us does not suffice to (...)
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  • God, the Meaning of Life, and a New Argument for Atheism.Jason Megill & Daniel Linford - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (1):31-47.
    We raise various puzzles about the relationship between God and the meaning of life. These difficulties suggest that, even if we assume that God exists, and even if God’s existence would entail that our lives have meaning, God is not and could not be the source of the meaning of life. We conclude by discussing implications of our arguments: these claims can be used in a novel argument for atheism; these claims undermine an extant argument for God’s existence; and they (...)
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  • Is Meaning in Life Comparable?: From the Viewpoint of ‘The Heart of Meaning in Life’.Masahiro Morioka - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):50-65.
    The aim of this paper is to propose a new approach to the question of meaning in life by criticizing Thaddeus Metz’s objectivist theory in his book Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study. I propose the concept of “the heart of meaning in life,” which alone can answer the question, “Alas, does my life like this have any meaning at all?” and I demonstrate that “the heart of meaning in life” cannot be compared, in principle, with other people’s meaning in (...)
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  • Assessing Lives, Giving Supernaturalism Its Due, and Capturing Naturalism: Reply to 13 Critics of Meaning in Life (Repr.).Thaddeus Metz - 2015 - In Masahiro Morioka (ed.), Reconsidering Meaning in Life: A Philosophical Dialogue with Thaddeus Metz. Waseda University. pp. 228-278.
    A lengthy reply to 13 critical discussions of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ collected in an e-book and reprinted from the _Journal of Philosophy of Life_. The contributors are from a variety of philosophical traditions, including the Anglo-American, Continental and East Asian (especially Buddhist and Japanese) ones.
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  • Death and the Meaning of Life: A Critical Study of Metz’s Meaning in Life.Fumitake Yoshizawa - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):134-149.
    In Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study, Thaddeus Metz advocates a kind of naturalistic objective theory of meaning in life, through a rejection of supernaturalism. In this paper, I examine Metz’s argument on supernaturalism, in particular, soul-centered theory and immortality. I will argue that his objection to supernaturalism is inadequate because he does not treat properly a familiar idea about the relationship between death and meaning, namely, the idea that a person’s death itself makes her life meaningless. Metz interprets immortality (...)
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  • Neutrality, Partiality, and Meaning in Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2017 - De Ethica 4 (3):7-25.
    Discussion of whether values and norms are neutral or not has mainly appeared in works on the nature of prudential rationality and morality. Little systematic has yet appeared in the up and coming field of the meaning of life. What are the respects in which the value of meaningfulness is neutral or, in contrast, partial, relational, or ‘biased’? In this article, I focus strictly on answering this question. First, I aim to identify the salient, and perhaps exhaustive, respects in which (...)
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  • Is Life’s Meaning Ultimately Unthinkable?: Guy Bennett-Hunter on the Ineffable.Thaddeus Metz - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1247-1256.
    In this critical notice of Guy Bennett-Hunter’s book _Ineffability and Religious Experience_, I focus on claims he makes about what makes a life meaningful. According to Bennett-Hunter, for human life to be meaningful it must obtain its meaning from what is beyond the human and is ineffable, which constitutes an ultimate kind of meaning. I spell out Bennett-Hunter’s rationale for making this claim, raise some objections to it, and in their wake articulate an alternative conception of ultimate meaning.
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  • Existential Terror.Ben Bradley - 2015 - The Journal of Ethics 19 (3-4):409-418.
    Many of us feel existential terror when contemplating our future nonexistence. I examine several attempts to rationally justify existential terror. The most promising of these appeals to the effects of future nonexistence on the meaningfulness of our lives. I argue that even this justification fails, and therefore existential terror is irrational.
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  • How Human Life Matters in the Universe: A Reply to David Benatar.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 9 (1):1-15.
    In his book, The Human Predicament, David Benatar claims that our individual lives and human life, in general, do not make a difference beyond Earth and, therefore, are meaningless from the vast, cosmic perspective. In this paper, I will explain how what we do matters from the cosmic perspective. I will provide examples of how human beings have transcended our limits, thereby giving human life some meaning from the cosmic perspective. Also, I will argue that human life could become even (...)
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  • How Human Life Could Be Unintended but Meaningful: A Reply to Tartaglia.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 7 (1):160-179.
    The question “What is the meaning of life?” is longstanding and important, but has been shunned by philosophers for decades. Instead, contemporary philosophers have focused on other questions, such as “What gives meaning to the life of a person?” According to James Tartaglia, this research on “meaning in life” is shallow and pointless. He urges philosophers to redirect their attention back to the fundamental question about “meaning of life.” Tartaglia argues that humanity was not created for a purpose and, therefore, (...)
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  • Meaningfulness, Volunteering and Being Moved: The Event of Witnessing.Nicole Note & Emilie Van Daele - 2016 - Foundations of Science 21 (2):283-300.
    This paper draws on an in-depth phenomenological analysis of some interviews taken from volunteers, inviting them to reflect on their lived experiences of meaningfulness in the context of volunteering and citizenship. It is found that while some testimonies reinforce the standard conceptions of meaningfulness, other testimonies vary from it. The main challenge of this contribution consists in phenomenologically describing this alternative picture of meaningfulness, depicted as the event of witnessing. In a final part, the authors consider how volunteering is at (...)
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  • Education and Life's Meaning.Anders Schinkel, Doret J. Ruyter & Aharon Aviram - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (2):n/a-n/a.
    There are deep connections between education and the question of life's meaning, which derive, ultimately, from the fact that, for human beings, how to live—and therefore, how to raise one's children—is not a given but a question. One might see the meaning of life as constitutive of the meaning of education, and answers to the question of life's meaning might be seen as justifying education. Our focus, however, lies on the contributory relation: our primary purpose is to investigate whether and (...)
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  • Précis of Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study.Thaddeus Metz - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 5 (3):ii-vi.
    Brief summary of _Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study_ and of how contributors to a special issue of the _Journal of Philosophy of Life_ question it.
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