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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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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The Gay Science.Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm

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