The meaning of “life’s meaning”

Philosophers' Imprint (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Life’s meaning is a deeply important yet perplexing topic. It is often unclear what people are talking about when they talk about life having “meaning”. This paper attempts to clarify things by articulating a schema for understanding claims about meaning. It defends a theory according to which X means Y iff Y is a correct interpretation of X—i.e., if Y is a correct answer to an interpretive question, Z. I argue that this (perhaps surprising) claim has impressive explanatory power. Applying this schema to life explains the many ways in which people seem to think and talk about life’s meaning, and common claims in the philosophical literature. It also makes sense of empirical findings from psychological research on perceived meaning in life.
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PRITMO-15
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Archival date: 2020-05-25
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2020-04-28

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