Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Nature, Language, and Meaning in Life: On the Relation to Objective Value
by del Prado, Vincent, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2019, 69; 22585375
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis is an analysis of the kind of value associated with ‘meaning,’ referenced in expressions such as “the meaning of life.” I argue for a fitting-fulfillment view based loosely on a view from Wolf (2011) of the same name, which holds that the value of meaning in life can be adequately described by the integration of two criteria: fulfillment, which is the psychological component accounting for conceptions of love and engagement; and objective value, which explains why it seems that not just any-old-thing can count as meaningful within the context of a human life.

I shall argue for an analogy between the kind of value staked out through conceptual analysis of “meaning in life” and linguistic meaning. Of particular interest is the way this analogy enables one to defend one of the more controversial aspects of the fitting-fulfillment view, the requirement for objective value. This metaphorical connection provides a useful framework for connecting various conceptual elements of meaning in life. I contrast my view with strains of absurdism, a view associated with existentialist philosopher, Albert Camus, that both identifies the conceptual need for objective meaning in life, while also taking it to be illusory. In the end, I provide an example of a meaningful life consistent with my view, consisting of identifying objective value in nature and engaging with it in positive ways.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wieland, Nellie
Commitee: Dievney, Patrick, Nolan, Lawrence
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Philosophy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/4(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Ethics
Keywords: Absurdism, Ethics, Linguistic Meaning, Meaning in Life, Meta-ethics, Objective Value
Publication Number: 22585375
ISBN: 9781687914132
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