Controversial Ideas 2022, 2(1), 14; doi: 10.35995/jci02010014
Replies to Critics
1 Professor of Philosophy, Scripps College, Claremont;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 Mar 2022 / Revised: 28 Apr 2022 / Accepted: 15 Mar 2022 / Published: 29 Apr 2022
This article responds to the two replies, published in this issue, to my article “Ultimate Meaning: We Don’t Have It, We Can’t Get It, and We Should Be Very, Very Sad,” published in the first issue of this journal. In the first reply, Turp, Hollinshead, and Rowe present an internalist challenge to my account of value, and a relational conception of the self as a challenge to my premise that leading a life includes everything you do and aim at within the project, effort, or enterprise of living and leading a life. I respond to the internalist challenge by showing it does not succeed in inserting values into acts. I respond to the relational conception of the self by noting that, regardless of the nature of the self, the project of leading a life includes all the things you do and aim at within that project, effort, or enterprise. Thus, we can accept a relational account of the self and allow for other-regarding values but that does not change the location of our pursuit of those values: they remain located within the meta-project of leading a life, leaving the meta-project of leading and living a life with nowhere to reach for a point. In the second reply, Cowan argues against feeling sad about life’s pointlessness. In response, I argue that sad facts warrant sadness. I further argue that there are reasons other than happiness to value truth, including the very, very sad truth about the ultimate pointlessness of our lives.
Keywords: meaning; ultimate meaning; value; leading a life; happiness; truth
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