Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3-4):561-573 (2020)

In a recent article Iddo Landau has defended his distinction between perspectives on and standards of meaning in life to support his rebuttal of a familiar pessimistic objection to the meaningfulness of human life. According to that complaint, human life is meaningless when viewed from a detached, cosmic, or sub specie aeternitatis [SSA] perspective. Landau argues that a cosmic perspective need not entail a comparably high standard of meaningfulness. What counts on his view then is not the perspective, which is compatible with any number of possible standards for what constitutes an adequate amount of meaningfulness, but the standard that sets that threshold. In this article I argue that Landau has 1.a.) underestimated the severity of the pessimists’ critique of the availability of any standards for meaningfulness and has also 1.b.) misunderstood the pessimists to be saying that human lives are meaningless because they make an insufficient spatio-temporal impact. I argue further that 2.a.) Landau has left unexplained on what basis we would locate the standard of meaning, leaving a gap in his account. Finally, I maintain that 2.b.) by acknowledging that the ontological, normative, or theological content of the SSA perspective can influence the placing of that standard, Landau leaves himself open to the plausible alternative possibility that the meaning of a life is settled not by the standard itself but by the character attributed to the SSA perspective.
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-020-10088-x
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References found in this work BETA

The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Meaning in Life and Why It Matters.Susan Wolf - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
The view from nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (2):221-222.
Meaning in Life and Why It Matters (Markus Rüther).Susan Wolf - 2011 - Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 64 (3):308.

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