Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Research Institute for Environmental Philosophy and Philosophical Anthropology, Osaka Prefecture University


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Does Death Give Meaning to Life?

Brooke Alan Trisel

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.5, No.2 (August 2015):62-81



Some people claim that death makes our lives meaningless. Bernard Williams and Viktor Frankl have made the opposite claim that death gives meaning to life. Although there has been much scrutiny of the former claim, the latter claim has received very little attention. In this paper, I will explore whether and how death gives meaning to our lives. As I will argue, there is not sufficient support for the strong claim that death is necessary for one's life to be meaningful. However, there is support for the more limited conclusion that our finitude enhances or upholds the meaning in the lives of some individuals in four different ways.

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