Thomas Nagel Meaning Of Life Analysis

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With seven billion people in the world, it is difficult to grasp onto the idea that we have a greater purpose or meaning. We are the ones that give meaning to our lives, even if it is relatively short. With this in mind, I will be discussing Susan Wolf’s analysis of the meaning of life and Thomas Nagel’s view on death to argue that I would not want to live forever. If we take the question ‘What is the meaning of life?’ to be asking ‘What is the purpose behind our existence?’, then Wolf thinks that this question is too easy. If God exists, then perhaps God had some reason for creating us; but if God doesn’t exist, then there is no reason for our existence. On the other hand she believes there is a distinct question of whether or not individual lives are meaningful. She doesn’t think that a life is meaningful if it satisfies a subjective criteria like making the person happy. For example, many cases of meaningful lives like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Einstein, were not particularly happy lives. Additionally, cases of meaningless lives like The Blob, are actually filled with a good amount of happiness According to Wolf, a meaningful life is one that is actively and at least somewhat successfully engaged in a project (or projects) of positive value. She asks us to consider the cases of people whose lives are useless due to a lack of activity: The Blob and the idle rich. From these, she concludes that a meaningful life must be one of active engagement. Next, she considers cases in which a life, though actively engaged, is wasted on a project without any positive value: the corporate executive and the pig farmer. The projects have to have positive value. Finally, she presents cases like the scientist whose break-through is scooped. She thinks that this, too, renders a life meaningless. So it requires that the projects are successful. It’s not enough that oneself believes that their projects have positive value. Death is bad, according to Nagel, because it involves losing something, specifically the good things in life. Death itself is not a bad state. However since death involves not existing, it is no state at all, good or bad. The first obstacle he presents concerns questions about how things could be bad for
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