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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A Stoic Approach to Living a Meaningful Life

Andrew M. Winters

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.10, No.1 (July 2020):38-57




In this paper I set out to accomplish two tasks. First, I develop a criterion as to what accounts for a satisfactory account of life’s meaningfulness. Second, I use this criterion to evaluate four accounts of life’s meaning, including Stoicism, existentialism, cosmological nihilism, and the theological purposive account. I argue that, in light of the criterion, that both cosmological nihilism and the theological purposive account are inadequate. While the existentialism account does meet the conditions of the criterion, it ignores important features of what it means to be human—the subject of what kind of meaningful life we are concerned with. Given that the Stoic account meets the criterion while correctly accounting for what it means to be human, I argue that Stoicism is a viable approach to understanding the meaning of life.

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