Meaning in Life and the Metaphysics of Value

De Ethica 4 (3):27-44 (2017)
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According to subjectivist views about a meaningful life, one's life is meaningful in virtue of desire satisfaction or feelings of fulfilment. Standard counterexamples consist of satisfaction found through trivial or immoral tasks. In response to such examples, many philosophers require that the tasks one is devoted to are objectively valuable, or have objectively valuable consequences. I argue that the counterexamples to subjectivism do not require objective value for meaning in life. I also consider other reasons for thinking that meaning in life requires objective value and raise doubts about their strength. Finally, I argue that beauty is not plausibly objective, but that it seems important for meaning. This puts pressure on the objectivist to explain why objectivity matters in the case of other values.
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First archival date: 2017-07-24
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