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  1. Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God.[author unknown] - 1989 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 63:297-323.
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  • Finite and Infinite Goods: A Framework for Ethics.[author unknown] - 2001 - Philosophical Quarterly 51 (203):280-282.
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  • A theory of justice.John Rawls - unknown
    Though the revised edition of A Theory of Justice, published in 1999, is the definitive statement of Rawls's view, so much of the extensive literature on Rawls's theory refers to the first edition.
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  • Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
    Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interersts, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions (...)
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  • Man's Search for Meaning.Viktor Emil Frankl - 1959 - Beacon.
    Frankl's elaboration of his theory that man's primary motvational force is the search for meaning.
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  • The meaning of life.E. D. Klemke (ed.) - 1981 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Many writers in various fields--philosophy, religion, literature, and psychology--believe that the question of the meaning of life is one of the most significant problems that an individual faces. In The Meaning of Life, Second Edition, E.D. Klemke collects some of the best writings on this topic, primarily works by philosophers but also selections from literary figures and religious thinkers. The twenty-seven cogent, readable essays are organized around three different perspectives on the meaning of life. In Part I, the readings assert (...)
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  • New developments in the meaning of life.Thaddeus Metz - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):196–217.
    In this article I survey philosophical literature on the topic of what, if anything, makes a person’s life meaningful, focusing on systematic texts that are written in English and that have appeared in the last five years (2002-2007). My aims are to present overviews of the most important, fresh, Anglo-American positions on meaning in life and to raise critical questions about them worth answering in future work.
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  • Welfare, happiness, and ethics.L. W. Sumner - 1996 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Moral philosophers agree that welfare matters. But they disagree about what it is, or how much it matters. In this vital new work, Wayne Sumner presents an original theory of welfare, investigating its nature and discussing its importance. He considers and rejects all notable theories of welfare, both objective and subjective, including hedonism and theories founded on desire or preference. His own theory connects welfare closely with happiness or life satisfaction. Reacting against the value pluralism that currently dominates moral philosophy, (...)
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  • Self expressions: mind, morals, and the meaning of life.Owen Flanagan - 1996 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there (...)
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  • Confrontations with the reaper: a philosophical study of the nature and value of death.Fred Feldman - 1992 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    What is death? Do people survive death? What do we mean when we say that someone is "dying"? Presenting a clear and engaging discussion of the classic philosophical questions surrounding death, this book studies the great metaphysical and moral problems of death. In the first part, Feldman shows that a definition of life is necessary before death can be defined. After exploring several of the most plausible accounts of the nature of life and demonstrating their failure, he goes on to (...)
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  • Normative Ethics.Shelly Kagan - 1998 - Westview Press.
    Cover -- Half Title -- Title -- Copyright -- Dedication -- Contents -- Acknowledgments -- 1 Preliminaries -- 1.1 What Normative Ethics Is -- 1.2 What Normative Ethics Is Not -- 1.3 Defending Normative Theories -- 1.4 Factors and Foundations -- PART I FACTORS -- 2 The Good -- 2.1 Promoting the Good -- 2.2 Well-Being -- 2.3 The Total View -- 2.4 Equality -- 2.5 Culpability, Fairness, and Desert -- 2.6 Consequentialism -- 3 Doing Harm -- 3.1 Deontology -- (...)
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  • Quality Time: Temporal and Other Aspects of Ethical Principles Based on a “Life Worth Living”. [REVIEW]James Yeates - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (4):607-624.
    The evaluation of whether an animal has a life worth living (LWL) has been suggested as a useful concept for farm animal policymaking. But there are a number of different ways in which the concept could be applied. This paper attempts to identify and evaluate candidate ethical principles based on the concept. It suggests that an appropriate principle by which to apply the concept is one that (1) is framed in terms of preventing an animal having a life worth avoiding (...)
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  • Meaning in Life and Why It Matters.Susan Wolf - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
    Most people, including philosophers, tend to classify human motives as falling into one of two categories: the egoistic or the altruistic, the self-interested or the moral. According to Susan Wolf, however, much of what motivates us does not comfortably fit into this scheme. Often we act neither for our own sake nor out of duty or an impersonal concern for the world. Rather, we act out of love for objects that we rightly perceive as worthy of love--and it is these (...)
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  • Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life.Susan Wolf - 1997 - Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (1):207.
    The topic of self-interest raises large and intractable philosophical questions–most obviously, the question “In what does self-interest consist?” The concept, as opposed to the content of self-interest, however, seems clear enough. Self-interest is interest in one's own good. To act self-interestedly is to act on the motive of advancing one's own good. Whether what one does actually is in one's self-interest depends on whether it actually does advance, or at least, minimize the decline of, one's own good. Though it may (...)
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  • Happiness and meaning: Two aspects of the good life.Susan Wolf - 1997 - Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (1):207-225.
    The topic of self-interest raises large and intractable philosophical questions–most obviously, the question “In what does self-interest consist?” The concept, as opposed to the content of self-interest, however, seems clear enough. Self-interest is interest in one's own good. To act self-interestedly is to act on the motive of advancing one's own good. Whether what one does actually is in one's self-interest depends on whether it actually does advance, or at least, minimize the decline of, one's own good. Though it may (...)
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  • Introduction.Thaddeus Metz - 2005 - Philosophical Papers 34 (3):311-329.
    This article introduces a special issue of Philosophical Papers devoted to the topic of meaning in life. In the paper, I engage with articles by Robert Audi, David Velleman, John Martin Fischer, Laurence Thomas, Berit Brogaard, Barry Smith and Larry James, laying out their central views, criticizing them, and suggesting ways they could be developed.
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  • The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.
    I defend the theory that one's life is meaningful to the extent that one promotes the good. Call this the good cause account (GCA) of the meaning of life. It holds that the good effects that count towards the meaning of one's life need not be intentional. Nor must one be aware of the effects. Nor does it matter whether the same good would have resulted if one had not existed. What matters is that one is causally responsible for the (...)
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  • Immortality and Significance.Aaron Smuts - 2011 - Philosophy and Literature 35 (1):134-149.
    Although I reject his argument, I defend Bernard Williams’s claim that we would lose reason to go on if we were to live forever. Through a consideration of Borges’s story "The Immortal," I argue that immortality would be motivationally devastating, since our decisions would carry little weight, our achievements would be hollow victories of mere diligence, and the prospect of eternal frustration would haunt our every effort. An immortal life for those of limited ability will inevitably result in endless frustration, (...)
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  • It’s a Wonderful Life.Aaron Smuts - 2012 - Film and Philosophy 16:15-33.
    It’s a Wonderful Life (Capra, 1946) presents a plausible theory of the meaning of life: One's life is meaningful to the extent that it promotes the good. Although this theory is credible, the movie suggests a problematic refinement in the Pottersville sequence. George's waking nightmare asks us to compare the actual world with a world where he did not exist. It tells us that we are only responsible for the good that would not exist had we not existed. I argue (...)
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  • Less good but not bad: In defense of epicureanism about death.Aaron Smuts - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (2):197-227.
    In this article I defend innocuousism– a weak form of Epicureanism about the putative badness of death. I argue that if we assume both mental statism about wellbeing and that death is an experiential blank, it follows that death is not bad for the one who dies. I defend innocuousism against the deprivation account of the badness of death. I argue that something is extrinsically bad if and only if it leads to states that are intrinsically bad. On my view, (...)
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  • Preferring not to have been born.Saul Smilansky - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (2):241 – 247.
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  • What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
    In this book, T. M. Scanlon offers new answers to these questions, as they apply to the central part of morality that concerns what we owe to each other.
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  • Intrinsic value and meaningful life.Robert Audi - 2005 - Philosophical Papers 34 (3):331-355.
    Abstract I distinguish various ways in which human life may be thought to be meaningful and present an account of what might be called existential meaningfulness. The account is neutral with respect to both theism and naturalism, but each is addressed in several places and the paper's main points are harmonious with certain versions of both. A number of important criteria for existential meaningfulness are examined, and special emphasis is placed on criteria centering on creativity and excellence, on contributing to (...)
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  • Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
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  • Self-interest and the Concept of Self-sacrifice.Mark Carl Overvold - 1980 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 10 (1):105-118.
    Owing to a genral dissatisfaction with hedonistic theories of value, a number of recent discussions have sought to identify an agent's selfinterest, individual utility, or personal welfare with what the agent most wants to do, all things considered. Two features of these accounts merit special attention for the argument in this paper. First, on such accounts any desire or aversion which persists in the face of complete information is logically relevant to the determination of an agent's self interest. This includes (...)
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  • Death.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Noûs 4 (1):73-80.
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  • Recent Work on the Meaning of Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2002 - Ethics 112 (4):781-814..
    A critical overview of mainly Anglo-American philosophical literature addressing the meaning of life up to 2002.
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  • Are Lives Worth Creating?Thaddeus Metz - 2011 - Philosophical Papers 40 (2):233-255.
    In his book Better Never to Have Been, David Benatar argues that it is generally all things considered wrong to procreate, such that if everyone acted in a morally ideal way, humanity would elect to extinguish the species. I aim to carefully question the premises and inferences that lead Benatar to draw this anti-natalist conclusion, indicating several places where one could sensibly elect to disembark from the train of argument heading toward such a radical view.
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  • The Ethics of Killing.Jeff Mcmahan - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):477-490.
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  • Principia Ethica.Evander Bradley McGilvary - 1904 - Philosophical Review 13 (3):351.
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  • Why Bother: Is Life Worth Living?John J. McDermott - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (11):677-683.
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  • Intrinsic value and the notion of a life.Jerrold Levinson - 2004 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (4):319–329.
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  • Desire and the Human Good.Richard Kraut - 1994 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 68 (2):315.
    When we compare contemporary moral philosophy with the well-known moral systems of earlier centuries, we should be struck by the fact that a certain assumption about human well being that is now widely taken for granted was universally rejected in the past. The contemporary moral climate predisposes us to be pluralistic about the human good, whereas earlier systems of ethics embraced a conception of well being that we would now call narrow and restrictive. One way to convey the sort of (...)
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  • Welfarism.Simon Keller - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):82-95.
    Welfarism is the view that morality is centrally concerned with the welfare or well-being of individuals. The division between welfarist and non-welfarist approaches underlies many important disagreements in ethics, but welfarism is neither consistently defined nor well understood. I survey the philosophical work on welfarism, and I offer a suggestion about how the view can be characterized and how it can be embedded in various kinds of moral theory. I also identify welfarism's major rivals, and its major attractions and weaknesses.
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  • The experience machine and mental state theories of well-being.Jason Kawall - 1999 - Journal of Value Inquiry 33 (3):381-387.
    It is argued that Nozick's experience machine thought experiment does not pose a particular difficulty for mental state theories of well-being. While the example shows that we value many things beyond our mental states, this simply reflects the fact that we value more than our own well-being. Nor is a mental state theorist forced to make the dubious claim that we maintain these other values simply as a means to desirable mental states. Valuing more than our mental states is compatible (...)
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  • Rescuing Ivan ilych: How we live and how we die.F. M. Kamm - 2003 - Ethics 113 (2):202-233.
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  • Well-being as enjoying the good.Shelly Kagan - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):253-272.
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  • The Limits of Well-Being.Shelly Kagan - 1992 - Social Philosophy and Policy 9 (2):169-189.
    What are the limits of well-being? This question nicely captures one of the central debates concerning the nature of the individual human good. For rival theories differ as to what sort of facts directly constitute a person's being well-off. On some views, well-being is limited to the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain. But other views push the boundaries of well-being beyond this, so that it encompasses a variety of mental states, not merely pleasure alone. Some theories then (...)
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  • Me and My Life.Shelly Kagan - 1994 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 94:309-324.
    In this paper I take some initial steps toward exploring and motivating the suggestion that quality of life and level of well-being do not come to the same thing.
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  • Well-Being and Value.Jeffrey Goldsworthy - 1992 - Utilitas 4 (1):1.
    Something can be said to be good for a particular person, whether or not it is good for anyone else, let alone good ‘overall’ or ‘good simpliciter ’. Sometimes we speak of ‘John's good’ as well as of things that are ‘good for John’. What is ‘good for John’ is whatever enhances his ‘good’ or, to use an apparently synonymous term, his ‘well-being’. But what is a person's well-being: in what does it consist?
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  • Preferentism and Self‐Sacrifice.Chris Heathwood - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):18-38.
    According to the argument from self-sacrifice, standard, unrestricted desire-based theories of welfare fail because they have the absurd implication that self-sacrifice is conceptually impossible. I attempt to show that, in fact, the simplest imaginable, completely unrestricted desire-based theory of well-being is perfectly compatible with the phenomenon of self-sacrifice – so long as the theory takes the right form. I go on to consider a new argument from self-sacrifice against this simple theory, which, I argue, also fails. I conclude that, contrary (...)
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  • Desire satisfactionism and hedonism.Chris Heathwood - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 128 (3):539-563.
    Hedonism and the desire-satisfaction theory of welfare are typically seen as archrivals in the contest over identifying what makes one's life go best. It is surprising, then, that the most plausible form of hedonism just is the most plausible form of desire satisfactionism. How can a single theory of welfare be a version of both hedonism and desire satisfactionism? The answer lies in what pleasure is: pleasure is, in my view, the subjective satisfaction of desire. This thesis about pleasure is (...)
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  • Questioning the Question of the Worth of Life.Karsten Harries - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (11):684-690.
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  • Well-being: its meaning, measurement, and moral importance.James Griffin - 1986 - Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Clarendon Press.
    "Well-being," "welfare," "utility," and "quality of life," all closely related concepts, are at the center of morality, politics, law, and economics. Griffin's book, while primarily a volume of moral philosophy, is relevant to all of these subjects. Griffin offers answers to three central questions about well-being: what is the best way to understand it, can it be measured, and where should it fit in moral and political thought. With its breadth of investigation and depth of insight, this work holds significance (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of death.John Martin Fischer (ed.) - 1993 - Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
    Introduction : death, metaphysics, and morality / John Martin Fischer Death knocks / Woody Allen Rationality and the fear of death / Jeffrie G. Murphy Death / Thomas Nagel The Makropulos case : reflections on the tedium of immortality / Bernard Williams The evil of death / Harry S. Silverstein How to be dead and not care : a defense of Epicurus / Stephen E. Rosenbaum The dead / Palle Yourgrau The misfortunes of the dead / George Pitcher Harm to (...)
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  • Contribution on Martha Nussbaum’s The Therapy of Desire. [REVIEW]John Martin Fischer & Martha C. Nussbaum - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (3):787.
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  • Pleasures and Pains: A Theory of Qualitative Hedonism. [REVIEW]William P. Alston - 1979 - Philosophical Review 91 (1):143-145.
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  • Review of Pleasures and Pains: A Theory of Qualitative Hedonism[REVIEW]Henry R. West - 1981 - Ethics 91 (2):314-317.
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  • Disappointment, sadness, and death.Kai Draper - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (3):387-414.
    Many find the prospect of death distressing at least partly because they believe that death deprives its subject of life’s benefits. Properly qualified, the belief is surely true. But should its truth lead us to conclude that there is something dreadful or awful about death, something that merits distress?
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  • The Hedonist's Dilemma.Dale Dorsey - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (2):173-196.
    In this paper, I argue that hedonism about well-being faces a powerful dilemma. However, as I shall try to show here, this choice creates a dilemma for hedonism. On a subjective interpretation, hedonism is open to the familiar objection that pleasure is not the only thing desired or the only thing for which we possess a pro-attitude. On an objective interpretation, hedonism lacks an independent rationale. In this paper, I do not claim that hedonism fails once and for all. However, (...)
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