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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No Such Thing As the Good-Life
: A Critique and Plea for Ignorance

John Shand

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.8, No.2 (July 2018):48-64




This paper argues that there is no such thing as the good-life in some universally valid sense that applies to all individuals. There is only a good-life as it attaches, as a good-life only can, to particular individuals. As such a good-life for a person is unknowable to others, and only somewhat better knowable in advance to the person themselves, while only the individual whose life it is will know the good-life when they encounter it. Therefore, structures and steps to bring about either the good-life for others in a universalizable sense or in a particular sense are deeply mistaken, and likely to do more harm than good, lessening the chances of an individual living a good-life.

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