Uncategorized

Download e-book On the Meaning of Life

Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online On the Meaning of Life file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with On the Meaning of Life book. Happy reading On the Meaning of Life Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF On the Meaning of Life at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF On the Meaning of Life Pocket Guide.

One part of the field of life's meaning consists of the systematic attempt to clarify what people mean when they ask in virtue of what life has meaning. A large majority of those writing on life's meaning deem talk of it centrally to indicate a positive final value that an individual's life can exhibit. That is, comparatively few believe either that a meaningful life is a merely neutral quality, or that what is of key interest is the meaning of the human species or universe as a whole for discussions focused on the latter, see Edwards ; Munitz ; Seachris Most in the field have ultimately wanted to know whether and how the existence of one of us over time has meaning, a certain property that is desirable for its own sake.

Beyond drawing the distinction between the life of an individual and that of a whole, there has been very little discussion of life as the logical bearer of meaning. For instance, is the individual's life best understood biologically, qua human being, or instead as the existence of a person that may or may not be human Flanagan ? Returning to topics on which there is consensus, most writing on meaning believe that it comes in degrees such that some periods of life are more meaningful than others and that some lives as a whole are more meaningful than others perhaps contra Britton , Note that one can coherently hold the view that some people's lives are less meaningful than others, or even meaningless, and still maintain that people have an equal moral status.

Consider a consequentialist view according to which each individual counts for one in virtue of having a capacity for a meaningful life cf.

What is the Meaning of Life? (In-Depth Answers)

Railton , or a Kantian view that says that people have an intrinsic worth in virtue of their capacity for autonomous choices, where meaning is a function of the exercise of this capacity Nozick , ch. On both views, morality could counsel an agent to help people with relatively meaningless lives, at least if the condition is not of their choosing.

First, to ask whether someone's life is meaningful is not one and the same as asking whether her life is happy or pleasant. A life in an experience or virtual reality machine could conceivably be happy but very few take it to be a prima facie candidate for meaningfulness Nozick 42— Goetz , in particular, bites many bullets. Furthermore, one's life logically could become meaningful precisely by sacrificing one's happiness, e. Second, asking whether a person's existence is significant is not identical to considering whether she has been morally upright; there seem to be ways to enhance meaning that have nothing to do with morality, at least impartially conceived, for instance, making a scientific discovery.

Of course, one might argue that a life would be meaningless if or even because it were unhappy or immoral, particularly given Aristotelian conceptions of these disvalues. My point is that the question of what makes a life meaningful is conceptually distinct from the question of what makes a life happy or moral, even if it turns out that the best answer to the question of meaning appeals to an answer to one of these other evaluative questions. If talk about meaning in life is not by definition talk about happiness or rightness, then what is it about?

There is as yet no consensus in the field. One answer is that a meaningful life is one that by definition has achieved choice-worthy purposes Nielsen or involves satisfaction upon having done so Hepburn ; Wohlgennant However, for such an analysis to clearly demarcate meaningfulness from happiness, it would be useful to modify it to indicate which purposes are germane to the former. On this score, some suggest that conceptual candidates for grounding meaning are purposes that not only have a positive value, but also render a life coherent Markus , make it intelligible Thomson , 8—13 , or transcend animal nature Levy Now, it might be that a focus on any kind of purpose is too narrow for ruling out the logical possibility that meaning could inhere in certain actions, experiences, states, or relationships that have not been adopted as ends and willed and that perhaps even could not be, e.

In addition, the above purpose-based analyses exclude as not being about life's meaning some of the most widely read texts that purport to be about it, namely, Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialist account of meaning being constituted by whatever one chooses, and Richard Taylor's , ch. These are prima facie accounts of meaning in life, but do not essentially involve the attainment of purposes that foster coherence, intelligibility or transcendence. It is implausible to think that these criteria are satisfied by subjectivist appeals to whatever choices one ends up making or to whichever desires happen to be strongest for a given person.

In that case, it could be that the field is united in virtue of addressing certain overlapping but not equivalent ideas that have family resemblances Metz , ch. For instance, the concept of a worthwhile life is probably not identical to that of a meaningful one Baier , ch. For instance, one would not be conceptually confused to claim that a meaningless life full of animal pleasures would be worth living. Knowing that meaningfulness analytically concerns a variable and gradient final good in a person's life that is conceptually distinct from happiness, rightness, and worthwhileness provides a certain amount of common ground.

The rest of this discussion addresses attempts to theoretically capture the nature of this good. Most English speaking philosophers writing on meaning in life are trying to develop and evaluate theories, i. These theories are standardly divided on a metaphysical basis, i. Supernaturalist theories are views that meaning in life must be constituted by a certain relationship with a spiritual realm. If God or a soul does not exist, or if they exist but one fails to have the right relationship with them, then supernaturalism—or the Western version of it on which I focus —entails that one's life is meaningless.

In contrast, naturalist theories are views that meaning can obtain in a world as known solely by science. Here, although meaning could accrue from a divine realm, certain ways of living in a purely physical universe would be sufficient for it. Note that there is logical space for a non-naturalist theory that meaning is a function of abstract properties that are neither spiritual nor physical.

However, only scant attention has been paid to this possibility in the Anglo-American literature Williams ; Audi Supernaturalist thinkers in the monotheistic tradition are usefully divided into those with God-centered views and soul-centered views. The former take some kind of connection with God understood to be a spiritual person who is all-knowing, all-good, and all-powerful and who is the ground of the physical universe to constitute meaning in life, even if one lacks a soul construed as an immortal, spiritual substance.

The latter deem having a soul and putting it into a certain state to be what makes life meaningful, even if God does not exist. Of course, many supernaturalists believe that certain relationships with God and a soul are jointly necessary and sufficient for a significant existence. However, the simpler view is common, and often arguments proffered for the more complex view fail to support it any more than the simpler view. The most widely held and influential God-based account of meaning in life is that one's existence is more significant, the better one fulfills a purpose God has assigned.

The familiar idea is that God has a plan for the universe and that one's life is meaningful to the degree that one helps God realize this plan, perhaps in the particular way God wants one to do so Affolter Fulfilling God's purpose by choice is the sole source of meaning, with the existence of an afterlife not necessary for it Brown ; Levine ; Cottingham If a person failed to do what God intends him to do with his life, then, on the current view, his life would be meaningless. Some argue that God's purpose could be the sole source of invariant moral rules, where a lack of such would render our lives nonsensical Craig ; Cottingham However, Euthyphro problems arguably plague this rationale; God's purpose for us must be of a particular sort for our lives to obtain meaning by fulfilling it as is often pointed out, serving as food for intergalactic travelers won't do , which suggests that there is a standard external to God's purpose that determines what the content of God's purpose ought to be but see Cottingham , ch.

In addition, some critics argue that a universally applicable and binding moral code is not necessary for meaning in life, even if the act of helping others is Ellin , Other purpose theorists contend that having been created by God for a reason would be the only way that our lives could avoid being contingent Craig ; cf. Haber But it is unclear whether God's arbitrary will would avoid contingency, or whether his non-arbitrary will would avoid contingency anymore than a deterministic physical world.

Furthermore, the literature is still unclear what contingency is and why it is a deep problem. Still other purpose theorists maintain that our lives would have meaning only insofar as they were intentionally fashioned by a creator, thereby obtaining meaning of the sort that an art-object has Gordon Here, though, freely choosing to do any particular thing would not be necessary for meaning, and everyone's life would have an equal degree of meaning, which are both counterintuitive implications see Trisel for additional criticisms. Are all these objections sound?

Is there a promising reason for thinking that fulfilling God's as opposed to any human's purpose is what constitutes meaning in life? Not only does each of these versions of the purpose theory have specific problems, but they all face this shared objection: if God assigned us a purpose, then God would degrade us and thereby undercut the possibility of us obtaining meaning from fulfilling the purpose Baier , —20; Murphy , 14—15; Singer , This objection goes back at least to Jean-Paul Sartre , 45 , and there are many replies to it in the literature that have yet to be assessed e.

Robert Nozick presents a God-centered theory that focuses less on God as purposive and more on God as infinite Nozick , ch. The basic idea is that for a finite condition to be meaningful, it must obtain its meaning from another condition that has meaning. So, if one's life is meaningful, it might be so in virtue of being married to a person, who is important. And, being finite, the spouse must obtain his or her importance from elsewhere, perhaps from the sort of work he or she does.

And this work must obtain its meaning by being related to something else that is meaningful, and so on. A regress on meaningful finite conditions is present, and the suggestion is that the regress can terminate only in something infinite, a being so all-encompassing that it need not indeed, cannot go beyond itself to obtain meaning from anything else. And that is God. The standard objection to this rationale is that a finite condition could be meaningful without obtaining its meaning from another meaningful condition; perhaps it could be meaningful in itself, or obtain its meaning by being related to something beautiful, autonomous or otherwise valuable for its own sake but not meaningful Thomson , 25—26, The purpose- and infinity-based rationales are the two most common instances of God-centered theory in the literature, and the naturalist can point out that they arguably face a common problem: a purely physical world seems able to do the job for which God is purportedly necessary.

Nature seems able to ground a universal morality and the sort of final value from which meaning might spring. And other God-based views seem to suffer from this same problem. For two examples, some claim that God must exist in order for there to be a just world, where a world in which the bad do well and the good fare poorly would render our lives senseless Craig ; cf. Cottingham , pt. However, the naturalist will point out that an impersonal, Karmic-like force of nature conceivably could justly distribute penalties and rewards in the way a retributive personal judge would, and that actually living together in loving relationships would seem to confer much more meaning on life than a loving fond remembrance.

A second problem facing all God-based views is the existence of apparent counterexamples. If we think of the stereotypical lives of Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, and Pablo Picasso, they seem meaningful even if we suppose there is no all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good spiritual person who is the ground of the physical world. What is the difference between a deep meaning and a shallow one?

And why think a spiritual realm is necessary for the former? At this point, the supernaturalist could usefully step back and reflect on what it might be about God that would make Him uniquely able to confer meaning in life, perhaps as follows from the perfect being theological tradition. For God to be solely responsible for any significance in our lives, God must have certain qualities that cannot be found in the natural world, these qualities must be qualitatively superior to any goods possible in a physical universe, and they must be what ground meaning in it.


  1. Wright for America.
  2. The Meaning of Life in 15 Wise Quotes.
  3. My Ballerina Sister.
  4. Why the War was Wrong?

Here, the supernaturalist could argue that meaning depends on the existence of a perfect being, where perfection requires properties such as atemporality, simplicity, and immutability that are possible only in a spiritual realm Metz , chs. Morris ; contra Brown and Hartshorne Meaning might come from loving a perfect being or orienting one's life toward it in other ways such as imitating it or even fulfilling its purpose, perhaps a purpose tailor-made for each individual as per Affolter Although this might be a promising strategy for a God-centered theory, it faces a serious dilemma.

On the one hand, in order for God to be the sole source of meaning, God must be utterly unlike us; for the more God were like us, the more reason there would be to think we could obtain meaning from ourselves, absent God. On the other hand, the more God is utterly unlike us, the less clear it is how we could obtain meaning by relating to Him. How can one love a being that cannot change? How can one imitate such a being? Could an immutable, atemporal, simple being even have purposes? Could it truly be a person?

And why think an utterly perfect being is necessary for meaning? Why would not a very good but imperfect being confer some meaning? A soul-centered theory is the view that meaning in life comes from relating in a certain way to an immortal, spiritual substance that supervenes on one's body when it is alive and that will forever outlive its death. If one lacks a soul, or if one has a soul but relates to it in the wrong way, then one's life is meaningless. There are two prominent arguments for a soul-based perspective. The first one is often expressed by laypeople and is suggested by the work of Leo Tolstoy ; see also Hanfling , 22—24; Morris , 26; Craig Tolstoy argues that for life to be meaningful something must be worth doing, that nothing is worth doing if nothing one does will make a permanent difference to the world, and that doing so requires having an immortal, spiritual self.

Many of course question whether having an infinite effect is necessary for meaning e. Others point out that one need not be immortal in order to have an infinite effect Levine , , for God's eternal remembrance of one's mortal existence would be sufficient for that. The other major rationale for a soul-based theory of life's meaning is that a soul is necessary for perfect justice, which, in turn, is necessary for a meaningful life. Life seems nonsensical when the wicked flourish and the righteous suffer, at least supposing there is no other world in which these injustices will be rectified, whether by God or by Karma.

Something like this argument can be found in the Biblical chapter Ecclesiastes , and it continues to be defended Davis ; Craig However, like the previous rationale, the inferential structure of this one seems weak; even if an afterlife were required for just outcomes, it is not obvious why an eternal afterlife should be thought necessary Perrett , Work has been done to try to make the inferences of these two arguments stronger, and the basic strategy has been to appeal to the value of perfection Metz , ch.

Perhaps the Tolstoian reason why one must live forever in order to make the relevant permanent difference is an agent-relative need for one to honor an infinite value, something qualitatively higher than the worth of, say, pleasure. And maybe the reason why immortality is required in order to mete out just deserts is that rewarding the virtuous requires satisfying their highest free and informed desires, one of which would be for eternal flourishing of some kind Goetz While far from obviously sound, these arguments at least provide some reason for thinking that immortality is necessary to satisfy the major premise about what is required for meaning.

“What Is Important to Me?”

However, both arguments are still plagued by a problem facing the original versions; even if they show that meaning depends on immortality, they do not yet show that it depends on having a soul. By definition, if one has a soul, then one is immortal, but it is not clearly true that if one is immortal, then one has a soul. Perhaps being able to upload one's consciousness into an infinite succession of different bodies in an everlasting universe would count as an instance of immortality without a soul.

Such a possibility would not require an individual to have an immortal spiritual substance imagine that when in between bodies, the information constitutive of one's consciousness were temporarily stored in a computer. What reason is there to think that one must have a soul in particular for life to be significant? The most promising reason seems to be one that takes us beyond the simple version of soul-centered theory to the more complex view that both God and a soul constitute meaning. The best justification for thinking that one must have a soul in order for one's life to be significant seems to be that significance comes from uniting with God in a spiritual realm such as Heaven, a view espoused by Thomas Aquinas, Leo Tolstoy , and contemporary religious thinkers e.

Another possibility is that meaning comes from honoring what is divine within oneself, i. As with God-based views, naturalist critics offer counterexamples to the claim that a soul or immortality of any kind is necessary for meaning. Great works, whether they be moral, aesthetic, or intellectual, would seem to confer meaning on one's life regardless of whether one will live forever. Critics maintain that soul-centered theorists are seeking too high a standard for appraising the meaning of people's lives Baier , —29; Baier , chs.

Appeals to a soul require perfection, whether it be, as above, a perfect object to honor, a perfectly just reward to enjoy, or a perfect being with which to commune. However, if indeed soul-centered theory ultimately relies on claims about meaning turning on perfection, such a view is attractive at least for being simple, and rival views have yet to specify in a principled and thoroughly defended way where to draw the line at less than perfection perhaps a start is Metz , ch.


  • The Meaning of Life: Contemporary Analytic Perspectives;
  • Whore Diaries: My First Two Weeks As An Escort!
  • 5 books on the meaning of life;
  • Thoughts on the Meaning of Life.
  • What less than ideal amount of value is sufficient for a life to count as meaningful? Critics of soul-based views maintain not merely that immortality is not necessary for meaning in life, but also that it is sufficient for a meaningless life. One influential argument is that an immortal life, whether spiritual or physical, could not avoid becoming boring, rendering life pointless Williams ; Ellin , —12; Belshaw , 82—91; Smuts The most common reply is that immortality need not get boring Fischer ; Wisnewski ; Bortolotti and Nagasawa ; Chappell ; Quigley and Harris , 75— However, it might also be worth questioning whether boredom is truly sufficient for meaninglessness.

    Suppose, for instance, that one volunteers to be bored so that many others will not be bored; perhaps this would be a meaningful sacrifice to make. Another argument that being immortal would be sufficient to make our lives insignificant is that persons who cannot die could not exhibit certain virtues Nussbaum ; Kass For instance, they could not promote justice of any important sort, be benevolent to any significant degree, or exhibit courage of any kind that matters, since life and death issues would not be at stake.

    Critics reply that even if these virtues would not be possible, there are other virtues that could be. And of course it is not obvious that meaning-conferring justice, benevolence and courage would not be possible if we were immortal, perhaps if we were not always aware that we could not die or if our indestructible souls could still be harmed by virtue of intense pain, frustrated ends, and repetitive lives.

    There are other, related arguments maintaining that awareness of immortality would have the effect of removing meaning from life, say, because our lives would lack a sense of preciousness and urgency Lenman ; Kass ; James or because external rather than internal factors would then dictate their course Wollheim , Note that the target here is belief in an eternal afterlife, and not immortality itself, and so I merely mention these rationales for additional, revealing criticism, see Bortolotti I now address views that even if there is no spiritual realm, meaning in life is possible, at least for many people.

    Among those who believe that a significant existence can be had in a purely physical world as known by science, there is debate about two things: the extent to which the human mind constitutes meaning and whether there are conditions of meaning that are invariant among human beings. Subjectivists believe that there are no invariant standards of meaning because meaning is relative to the subject, i.

    Roughly, something is meaningful for a person if she believes it to be or seeks it out.


    1. PINK SLIME: Its Whats For Dinner! Educate Your Meat Eating Friends.
    2. Meaning Of Life Quotes ( quotes).
    3. Meaning of LIfe: Contemporary Analytic Perspectives | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    4. The Problem of Bank Robbery (Problem Oriented Guides for Police Book 48);

    Objectivists maintain, in contrast, that there are some invariant standards for meaning because meaning is at least partly mind-independent, i. Here, something is meaningful to some degree in virtue of its intrinsic nature, independent of whether it is believed to be meaningful or sought.

    There is logical space for an intersubjective theory according to which there are invariant standards of meaning for human beings that are constituted by what they would all agree upon from a certain communal standpoint Darwall , chs. However, this orthogonal approach is not much of a player in the field and so I set it aside in what follows. According to this view, meaning in life varies from person to person, depending on each one's variable mental states. Common instances are views that one's life is more meaningful, the more one gets what one happens to want strongly, the more one achieves one's highly ranked goals, or the more one does what one believes to be really important Trisel ; Hooker ; Alexis Lately, one influential subjectivist has maintained that the relevant mental state is caring or loving, so that life is meaningful just to the extent that one cares about or loves something Frankfurt , , Subjectivism was dominant for much of the 20 th century when pragmatism, positivism, existentialism, noncognitivism, and Humeanism were quite influential James ; Ayer ; Sartre ; Barnes ; Taylor ; Hare ; Williams ; Klemke Such a method has been used to defend the existence of objective value, and, as a result, subjectivism about meaning has lost its dominance.

    Those who continue to hold subjectivism often are suspicious of attempts to justify beliefs about objective value e. Theorists are primarily moved to accept subjectivism because the alternatives are unpalatable; they are sure that value in general and meaning in particular exists, but do not see how it could be grounded in something independent of the mind, whether it be the natural, the non-natural, or the supernatural. In contrast to these possibilities, it appears straightforward to account for what is meaningful in terms of what people find meaningful or what people want out of life.

    Wide-ranging meta-ethical debates in epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language are necessary to address this rationale for subjectivism. There are two other, more circumscribed arguments for subjectivism. One is that subjectivism is plausible since it is reasonable to think that a meaningful life is an authentic one Frankfurt If a person's life is significant insofar as she is true to herself or her deepest nature, then we have some reason to believe that meaning simply is a function of satisfying certain desires held by the individual or realizing certain ends of hers.

    Another argument is that meaning intuitively comes from losing oneself, i.

    42 and Douglas Adams - Numberphile

    Work that concentrates the mind and relationships that are engrossing seem central to meaning and to be so because of the subjective element involved, that is, because of the concentration and engrossment. However, critics maintain that both of these arguments are vulnerable to a common objection: they neglect the role of objective value both in realizing oneself and in losing oneself Taylor , esp. One is not really being true to oneself if one intentionally harms others Dahl , 12 , successfully maintains 3, hairs on one's head Taylor , 36 , or, well, eats one's own excrement Wielenberg , 22 , and one is also not losing oneself in a meaning-conferring way if one is consumed by these activities.

    There seem to be certain actions, relationships, states, and experiences that one ought to concentrate on or be engrossed in, if meaning is to accrue. So says the objectivist, but many subjectivists also feel the pull of the point. Paralleling replies in the literature on well-being, subjectivists often respond by contending that no or very few individuals would desire to do such intuitively trivial things, at least after a certain idealized process of reflection e.

    More promising, perhaps, is the attempt to ground value not in the responses of an individual valuer, but in those of a particular group Brogaard and Smith ; Wong Would such an intersubjective move avoid the counterexamples? If so, would it do so more plausibly than an objective theory?

    Objective naturalists believe that meaning is constituted at least in part by something physical independent of the mind about which we can have correct or incorrect beliefs. Obtaining the object of some variable pro-attitude is not sufficient for meaning, on this view. Instead, there are certain inherently worthwhile or finally valuable conditions that confer meaning for anyone, neither merely because they are wanted, chosen, or believed to be meaningful, nor because they somehow are grounded in God.

    Morality and creativity are widely held instances of actions that confer meaning on life, while trimming toenails and eating snow and the other counterexamples to subjectivism above are not. Objectivism is thought to be the best explanation for these respective kinds of judgments: the former are actions that are meaningful regardless of whether any arbitrary agent whether it be an individual,her society, or even God judges them to be meaningful or seeks to engage in them, while the latter actions simply lack significance and cannot obtain it if someone believes them to have it or engages in them.

    To obtain meaning in one's life, one ought to pursue the former actions and avoid the latter ones. Of course, meta-ethical debates about the nature of value are again relevant here. Relatively few objectivists are pure, so construed. That is, a large majority of them believe that a life is more meaningful not merely because of objective factors, but also in part because of subjective ones such as cognition, affection, and emotion. This theory implies that no meaning accrues to one's life if one believes in, is satisfied by, or cares about a project that is not worthwhile, or if one takes up a worthwhile project but fails to judge it important, be satisfied by it, care about it or otherwise identify with it.

    Different versions of this theory will have different accounts of the appropriate mental states and of worthwhileness.

    What Is The Meaning Of Life? | Issue 59 | Philosophy Now

    Pure objectivists deny that subjective attraction plays any constitutive role in conferring meaning on life. For instance, utilitarians with respect to meaning as opposed to morality are pure objectivists, for they claim that certain actions confer meaning on life regardless of the agent's reactions to them. On this view, the more one benefits others, the more meaningful one's life, regardless of whether one enjoys benefiting them, believes they should be aided, etc.

    Singer , ch. Midway between pure objectivism and the hybrid theory is the view that having certain propositional attitudes toward finally good activities would enhance the meaning of life without being necessary for it Audi , For instance, might a Mother Teresa who is bored by her substantial charity work have a significant existence because of it, even if she would have an even more significant existence if she were excited by it?

    There have been several attempts to theoretically capture what all objectively attractive, inherently worthwhile, or finally valuable conditions have in common insofar as they bear on meaning. Some believe that they can all be captured as actions that are creative Taylor , while others maintain that they are exhibit rightness or virtue and perhaps also involve reward proportionate to morality Kant , pt.

    Pogge Most objectivists, however, deem these respective aesthetic and ethical theories to be too narrow, even if living a moral life is necessary for a meaningful one Landau It seems to most in the field not only that creativity and morality are independent sources of meaning, but also that there are sources in addition to these two. For just a few examples, consider making an intellectual discovery, rearing children with love, playing music, and developing superior athletic ability.

    So, in the literature one finds a variety of principles that aim to capture all these and other apparent objective grounds of meaning. One can read the perfectionist tradition as proffering objective theories of what a significant existence is, even if their proponents do not frequently use contemporary terminology to express this. Consider Aristotle's account of the good life for a human being as one that fulfills its natural purpose qua rational, Marx's vision of a distinctly human history characterized by less alienation and more autonomy, culture, and community, and Nietzsche's ideal of a being with a superlative degree of power, creativity, and complexity.

    The meaning of life is that which we choose to give it.

    More recently, some have maintained that objectively meaningful conditions are just those that involve: transcending the limits of the self to connect with organic unity Nozick , ch. One major test of these theories is whether they capture all experiences, states, relationships, and actions that intuitively make life meaningful. The more counterexamples of apparently meaningful conditions that a principle entails lack meaning, the less justified the principle. There is as yet no convergence in the field on any one principle or even cluster as accounting for commonsensical judgments about meaning to an adequate, convincing degree.

    Indeed, some believe the search for such a principle to be pointless Wolf b, 12—13; Kekes ; Schmidtz Are these pluralists correct, or does the field have a good chance of discovering a single, basic property that grounds all the particular ways to acquire meaning in life?

    Furthermore, a life that not only avoids repetition but also ends with a substantial amount of meaningful parts seems to have more meaning overall than one that has the same amount of meaningful parts but ends with few or none of them Kamm , — Extreme versions of holism are also present in the literature. For example, some maintain that the only bearer of final value is life as a whole, which entails that there are strictly speaking no parts or segments of a life that can be meaningful in themselves Tabensky ; Levinson For another example, some accept that both parts of a life and a life as a whole can be independent bearers of meaning, but maintain that the latter has something like a lexical priority over the former when it comes to what to pursue or otherwise to prize Blumenfeld What are the ultimate bearers of meaning?

    What are all the fundamentally different ways if any that holism can affect meaning? Are they all a function of narrativity, life-stories, and artistic self-expression as per Kauppinen , or are there holistic facets of life's meaning that are not a matter of such literary concepts? How much importance should they be accorded by an agent seeking meaning in her life? So far, I have addressed theoretical accounts that have been naturally understood to be about what confers meaning on life, which obviously assumes that some lives are in fact meaningful.

    However, there are nihilistic perspectives that question this assumption. What are their causes? Who are the most important people in your life? What are your dreams and aspirations for them? What are your values? How well is your current lifestyle aligned with these values? These questions will not be resolved in a day.

    They may not even be resolved in a lifetime. So, return to them again and again. Make the search for meaning the story of your life. Finding meaning in our lives requires us to look beyond our values and assess our talents. In doing so, we will find ways to make the world a better place, while enriching our own lives.

    We all have unique talents and traits. How would you describe what you are really good at? Are you a strong communicator? Do you love to teach others? Are you creative, analytical, caring or disciplined? Are there specific sports or activities that feel natural to you? The more unique your talents are, the more likely they are to lead you to the meaning of your life. The first two questions ask you who you are. The last question focuses on what you can become. Each of us has the potential to achieve greatness, in our own way. Life is full of choices.

    Do you want to follow the path that you have always known? Or will you chart a new course? Will the search for your own potential lead you to find perfection in the journey?