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Analysis Of Meaning Of Life By Richard Taylor

776 words - 4 pages

In “Meaning of Life”, Richard Taylor begins with questioning the meaning of life. He mentions this is rather hard to do and decides to define what meaninglessness is in order to understand the exact opposite: meaningfulness. Taylor asks the reader to recall the famous myth of Sisyphus to come about the definition of meaninglessness. He states that Sisyphus was condemned to roll a large boulder up a hill, only to have that boulder roll back down the hill, forcing him to repeat the task forever. Despite all his efforts, his existence amounts to nothing more than endlessly repeating the same task, which itself contributes to no greater goal or purpose. This, Taylor suggests, is the very image of meaninglessness. He defines meaninglessness as the following: “Meaninglessness is essentially endless pointlessness, and meaningfulness is therefore the opposite” (270).
Taylor is careful to identify exactly which features of Sisyphus predicament account for the lack of meaning. He argues that the facts that Sisyphus task is both difficult and endless are irrelevant to its meaninglessness. What explains the meaninglessness of Sisyphus’s life is that all of his work amounts to nothing. One way that Sisyphus’s life could have meaning, Taylor proposes, is if something was produced of his struggles. For example, if the stone that he rolls were used to create something that would last forever then Sisyphus would have a meaningful life. Another separate way in which meaning might be made present is if Sisyphus had a strong compulsion for rolling the stone up the hill. Taylor points out, though, that even given this last option, Sisyphus’s life has not acquired an objectives meaning of life; there is still nothing gained besides the fact he just simply enjoys doing it. Taylor goes on to claim human beings can only possess a subjective meaning by doing what is in their nature of living. Essentially, A person’s life is meaningful subjectively of and in proportion to the extent to which their desires are fulfilled.
However, using Taylor’s theory, one could conclude that someone that loves eating ice cream who gets to eat it all the time and someone that loves researching who is working on finding the cure to cancer both have a meaningful life....

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