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Chapter 11 - The Meaning of Life and Death

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 January 2022

Steven Luper
Affiliation:
Trinity University, Texas
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Summary

Meaningfulness is a matter of what adds meaning to our lives. What confers positive meaning (meaning makers) on our lives is our achievements, while negative meaning results from our failures. Dying has positive meaning for us if and only if, and to the extent that, living on has negative meaning for us, and vice versa. Meaning makers are a species of welfare makers, so what gives my life meaning also makes it better for me, but it is entirely possible to have a good life that is devoid of meaning. One excellent reason to live is to achieve things, to give my life meaning, but it is not the only good reason, since I have a very clear reason to live on when the life in prospect is good for me. We need not limit our aims to things we might achieve solely as individuals. We can share goals with others, even with people who have yet to be born. In particular, we can strive, together, to develop ways in which people may enhance themselves.

Type
Chapter
Information
Mortal Objects
Identity and Persistence through Life and Death
, pp. 176 - 188
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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