Dissolving the Question

Samuel Fleischacker

in Divine Teaching and the Way of the World

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199217366
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728495 | DOI:
Dissolving the Question

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The introductory chapter to this section gives the question, “is life worth living?,” a more precise meaning by (1) sketching the religious answers it tended to receive in pre-modern times, and (2) describing circumstances in which it continues to arise, even among wholly secular people, today. Four specific cases are described, which serve as “prompting scenarios” for the further investigation of the question. In their light, Wittgensteinian suggestions that the question might be unimportant or meaningless, because irrelevant to our practice, are dismissed. In their light, too, it is argued that the worth of life most naturally contrasts with the pleasure of life, for all that people sometimes defend hedonistic conceptions of that worth, and that the question about the worth of life is unlikely to be answered by common sense.

Keywords: Wittgenstein; common sense; prompting scenarios

Chapter.  9246 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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