Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Project of Philosophy and Contemporary Society, Advanced Research Center for Human Sciences, Waseda University


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Meaning and Fulfilment in Life
: The Roles of Criticism, Self-Discovery and Autobiography

Tony Summer

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.7, No.3 (October 2017):391-405




I offer a personal case-study to show how poor self-knowledge due in part to self-deception led to wasted life, a life lacking in meaning, and descent into severe anxiety and depression. A meaningful human life connects with things of value outside of itself and provides fulfilment for its bearer. For humans, fulfilment depends upon self-discovery, which requires a process of conjecture and refutation, a willingness to question and criticise received views and to welcome challenges and criticism to views that one holds dear and that may seem to be part of one’s identity. When one pursues an organised project of self-discovery, living one’s life is intertwined with drafting a philosophical autobiography.

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