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

Reason, Luck, and Meaning
: A Critique of the Moralist View of Meaning in Life

Kazuki Watanabe

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.12, No.1 (November 2022):101-115




Since the 20th century, many philosophy papers have been written about the concept of meaning in life. One notable question in the field is whether there is a necessary connection between morality and meaning. This paper’s objective is to tackle this question and bring out two points that favor the view that there is no necessary connection between morality and meaning. I attempt to support the anti-moralist view that morality is neither a sufficient nor necessary condition for a meaningful life. To do so, I articulate and defend two arguments suggested by Bernard Williams: one argument from the perspective of categorical desire and another from the perspective of luck. The first contrasts morality’s impartiality with meaning as personal, and the second contrasts morality’s immunity to luck with meaning’s vulnerability to luck.

[PDF] [Repository] Open Access