Giuliano Pontara

Metaethical sentimentalism and the meaning of life

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Meaning of Life; Sentimentalism; Impartial Spectator.

In his book "Il senso della vita" (Il Mulino,2016), Italian philosopher Eugenio Lecadano holds the normative view that a person P's life has «meaning »or a «specific value» if, and only if, P has the capacity to develop and pursue - without harming others - an autonomous life project according to his/her most fundamental passions, sentiments and desires as grounded in his/her own character. He advances this view within a sentimentalist (humean) metaethical theory according to which value judgements lack truth values. In this paper I scrutinize how, within this particular metaethical framework, Lecaldano argues for his normative thesis. It turns out that his main argument is that an impartial spectator would approve the kind of life which Lecaldano approves. The problem with this argument, however, is that in Lecaldano's construction of the impartial spectator the conclusion turns out to be true by definition.

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