Analysis Of Meaning In Life And Why It Matters By Susan Wolf

Decent Essays
Deontology and teleology have been regarded two of the dominant theories in the history of ethics. In response to the question ‘What shall we do?’ the former theory tells us that we should do the action(s) that adherence to a principle (s). Conversely, the latter theory holds the view that we should do the action(s) that promotes happiness or pleasure regardless of the principle(s). Intention plays a significant role between the two theories, though it acts differently. The intention of deontological theory is to follow principle(s) whereas for the teleological theory, the intention is to follow the better outcome(s). In her book Meaning in Life and Why it Matters, Susan Wolf rejects both of these theories because they leave out many of the…show more content…
In her book Meaning in Life and Why it Matters, Susan Wolf does not focus on this perennial question people have been asking over the vast confusion of human history rather she gazes her view at the question of how people seek and maintain meaningful lives. Seeking of meaningful life poses the question of motives that has driven us to engage in. Wolf judges the answer from philosophical point of view. Utilitarianism, a paradigm of teleological theory, accepts pleasure as the ultimate meaning of life. J. S. Mill argues, ‘pleasure and freedom from pain are the only things that are desirable as ends, and that everything that is desirable at all is so either for the pleasure inherent in it or as means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain’ [1863:10] Man demands and pursues the supreme good which comprises both virtue and happiness. Mill’s uses of the term pleasure confined it only in this physical world. Kant, on the other hand, uses it even after death. Virtue and pleasure, duty and inclination, are, according to Kant, heterogeneous notions. Their unity cannot be achieved within the narrow span of our life in this world. We, therefore, conceive immortal life for us. Hence, we seek pleasure not only in this material world, but also in the super sensible world as it is…show more content…
She, on the contrary, argues that meaningfulness is the predominant reason of a meaningful life. The Fulfillment view and the Larger -than -Oneself view act as a positive catalyst for constructing her own theory of meaningfulness. She continues, ‘According to the conception of meaningfulness I wish to propose, meaning arises from loving objects worthy of love and engaging with them in a positive way. …One might paraphrase this by saying that, according to my conception, meaning arises when subjective attraction meets objective attractiveness, and one is able to do something good or positive about it’ [2010:8-9]. The former view provides the subjective side of the meaningfulness and the latter view provides the objective side of the meaningfulness. Wolf has argued that all meaningful lives have two sides; a ‘subjective’ and an ‘objective’. These can be categorize into three elements ;(i) subjective attraction, (ii) active engagement, and (iii) objective worthiness. The aforementioned two sides have formed together the meaning of life. She names her concept The Fitting Fulfillment view that requires for experience meaning a person should relate to the object of his passion to the objective value of that object. Only good or positive passion can be act as a
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