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Meaning in Life$
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Thaddeus Metz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599318.001.0001

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The Fine Game of Nil1

(p.240) 13 Conclusion
Meaning in Life

Thaddeus Metz

Oxford University Press

Up to this point, the book had provisionally accepted the claim that some lives have meaning in them. The last chapter aims to confirm that some people’s lives do, contra nihilists or pessimists who contend that our lives are meaningless. Chapter 13 critically discusses two influential arguments for nihilism. Albert Camus defends nihilism by combining a supernaturalist theory of meaning in life with the atheist view that nothing supernatural exists, while David Benatar, inspired by the work of Arthur Schopenhauer and Thomas Nagel, maintains that our lives are meaningless from the sub specie aeternitatis, the point of view of the universe, which is authoritative for judging human existence. In both cases the chapter shows that nihilists appeal to claims that are in tension with each other, so that these arguments fail to give one sufficient reason to reject the pre-theoretic judgment that some lives are indeed meaningful.

Keywords:   Albert Camus, Atheism, David Benatar, Nihilism, Pessimism, Sub Specie Aeternitatis, Thomas Nagel

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