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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Death and the Meaning of Life
: A Critical Study of Metz’s Meaning in Life

Fumitake Yoshizawa

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.5, No.3 (October 2015):134-149



In Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study, Thaddeus Metz advocates a kind of naturalistic objective theory of meaning in life, through a rejection of supernaturalism. In this paper, I examine Metz’s argument on supernaturalism, in particular, soul-centered theory and immortality. I will argue that his objection to supernaturalism is inadequate because he does not treat properly a familiar idea about the relationship between death and meaning, namely, the idea that a person’s death itself makes her life meaningless. Metz interprets immortality as a condition for obtainingmeaning, but in view of the idea that I present, immortality means the negation of the death of a person whose life already has meaning. As I see it, this idea about death and meaning is also one of the motivations to accept a soul-centered theory and therefore key to a fuller rejection of supernaturalism.

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