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MA Thesis Defense: Vincent del Prado
June 25, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Vincent del Prado (Cal State Long Beach)
‘Nature, Language, and Meaning in Life: On the Relation to Objective Value’
25 Jun 2019 • 3:00pm–5:30pm • MHB–915
Abstract: This thesis is an analysis of the kind of value associated with meaning, referenced in expressions such as ‘the meaning of life’. I will defend a view of meaning in life, the fitting-fulfillment view originally proposed by Susan Wolf, which holds that the value of meaning in life can be adequately described by the integration of two criteria: fulfillment, which is the psychological component accounting for conceptions of love and engagement; and objective value, which explains why it seems that not just any-old-thing can count as meaningful within the context of a human life. I shall argue for an analogy between the kind of value staked out by this view and linguistic meaning. Of particular interest is the way this analogy enables one to defend one of the more controversial aspects of the fitting-fulfillment view, the requirement for objective value. I argue against absurdism, a view associated with existentialist philosopher, Albert Camus, that both identifies the conceptual need for objective meaning in life, while arguing that such a value is illusory. In the end, I propose a way of finding meaning in life by identifying objective value in nature and engaging with it in positive ways.
Oral defenses are open to the public. For a draft copy of the thesis, please contact Vincent del Prado directly.