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


Home > List of Articles > This article

Causation and the Narrative Meaning of Life

Mirela Oliva

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.11, No.1 (June 2021):24-42




This paper argues that causation is the core of the narrative meaning of life. In the first part, I show that the narrative meaning of life does not stop at narrative identity and includes causal relations beyond personal agency. In the second part, I employ Aristotle’s definition of plot in the Poetics as the compass for the narrative meaning of life. I show that all requirements of a plot pertain to causal relations. In the third part, I discuss the value of narrative causal relations. Here I challenge the instrumentalist accounts that deny any intrinsic value to narrative causal relations and see them as instrumental to other sorts of meaning (e.g., the ethical). I finally defend the ontological value of narrative causation, which inheres in the structure of causal relations.

[PDF] [Repository] Open Access