HONR-103 Vision and Visionaries

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Student Paper

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Philosophers of all ages and locales have ruminated on what it means to live a meaningful life. This particular essay seeks to tackle the same question but with more particularity. Is a meaningful life ethically good, rational, or even successful? Susan Wolf’s work The Meanings of Lives gives a nuanced but affirmative answer. This essay counters Wolf’s answer to that question. Although Wolf’s notion of having a project does make for a meaningful life, this paper argues that her objective and subjective criteria are too restricting. What makes life meaningful is not the outcome or nature of the project, but rather that one feels “called” to a particular project and takes an active interest in it, even if the project seems absurd or futile. In order to support that claim, this essay forwards Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, as well as other critical appraisals of both Wolf and Kierkegaard.

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