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Does anything we do matter forever?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 March 2019

T. J. MAWSON
Affiliation:
St Peter's College, Oxford University, Oxford, OX1 2DL, UK
Corresponding

Abstract

In this article, I consider the question of whether or not any action we perform matters forever. I distinguish two senses of mattering, which I call ‘relative’ and ‘non-relative’ mattering; and I argue that the answers one should give to the questions of whether or not anything we do matters forever in these senses depend on one's world-view. I thus consider the questions from an atheistic naturalistic world-view and from two variants of the theistic world-view. Finally, I argue that on any plausible variants of these world-views, we either are already in or will end up in a state where nothing we do matters forever in the non-relative sense. And I consider whether or not it matters now that this is where we are or will end up. I conclude that on atheistic naturalism and on one variant of theism, it doesn't non-relatively matter now and on another variant of theism it does non-relatively matter now. I conclude that, on both variants of theism, it relatively and non-relatively matters at the time it obtains.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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Footnotes

I am grateful for comments on this article made by those meeting under the aegis of the Athenaeum's Natural Theology Group: Claire Carlisle, John Cottingham, Douglas Hedley, Dave Leal, and James Orr. I am also grateful to Wendell O'Brien, Stewart Goetz, Guy Kahane, Klaas Kraay, John Schellenberg, and Nick Waghorn, who were kind enough to offer comments on the article. I am also very grateful for the comments of an anonymous referee for this journal.

References

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