Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 11$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780192856913

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780192856913.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

Against Seizing the Day

Against Seizing the Day

(p.91) 5 Against Seizing the Day
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 11

Antti Kauppinen

Oxford University Press

On a widely accepted view, what gives meaning to our lives is success in valuable ground projects. However, philosophers like Kieran Setiya have recently challenged the value of such orientation toward the future, and argued that meaningful living is instead a matter of engaging in atelic activities that are complete in themselves at each moment. This chapter argues that insofar as what is at issue is meaningfulness in its primary existential sense, strongly atelic activities do not suffice for meaning. Instead, finding one’s life meaningful is warranted both by sustainable success in valuable prospective (future-oriented) projects and by success in reflexive projects that aim to promote or realize a practice-dependent value that can be realized at each moment, but never for good. Activities of the latter kind are only weakly atelic, since their aim remains distinct from the activity, and individual actions gain significance from serving a long-term commitment. Thus, whether our ground projects are prospective or reflexive, what we do at each moment contributes to leading a meaningful life only when it’s connected in the right way to what we do at other moments.

Keywords:   meaningfulness, project, midlife crisis, well-being, time

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .