The Relational Nature of the Meaning of Life in Nozick

Mirela Oliva
University of St. Thomas, USA | olivam@stthom.edu

Received: 28-November-2019 | Accepted: 21-December-2019 | Published: 31-December-2019
Disputatio [Dec. 2019], Vol. 8, No. 11, pp. 469–494 | DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3596157
Article | [SP] | Full Text | Statistics | Copyright Notice [sp] | Vol. 8 No. 11

How to cite this article:
Oliva, Mirela (2019). «The Relational Nature of the Meaning of Life in Nozick». Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 8, no. 11: pp. 469–494.


Abstract | Nozick claims that the quest for the meaning of life entails a relational account of meaning. I defend his claim and show that the meaning of life is not one value among many but rather represents the connectedness of all aspects of human life. The meaning of life is a transcending of our limits towards value. This account leads Nozick to a theistic conclusion: the ultimate meaning of life can be only something that has no further meaning and is its meaning, namely the Unlimited (Ein Sof in the Kabbalist tradition). The paper starts by discussing Nozick’s definition of meaning as a relational dimension of reality. I underscore the difference between his approach and other approaches to the meaning of life, and then I examine the relation between meaning and value. The second part analyzes the various modes of life’s meaning as they emerge from the use of “meaning” in everyday language. I end with the discussion of the self-relationality of the Unlimited, which grounds the relationality of meaning.
Keywords |
Meaning of Life · Relation · Value · Ein Sof.

La naturaleza relacional del sentido de la vida en Nozick

Resumen | Nozick afirma que la búsqueda del sentido de la vida implica una explicación relacional de lo que significa vivir. Defiendo su aserción y demuestro que el sentido de la vida, su significado,  no es un valor entre muchos, sino que representa lo interrelacionado  de todos los aspectos de la vida humana. El sentido de la vida es trascender nuestros límites hacia el valor. Este relato lleva a Nozick a una conclusión teísta: el sentido último de la vida puede ser solo algo que no tiene más sentido y es su sentido, es decir, el Ilimitado (Ein Sof en la tradición cabalista). El artículo comienza discutiendo la definición de sentido de Nozick como una dimensión relacional de la realidad. Subrayo la diferencia entre su enfoque y otros enfoques del sentido de la vida, y luego examino la relación entre sentido y valor. La segunda parte analiza los diversos modos del sentido de la vida a medida que emergen del uso de «sentido» en el lenguaje cotidiano. Termino con la discusión de la auto-relacionalidad del Ilimitado, que fundamenta la relacionalidad del sentido.
Palabras clave | Sentido de la vida · Relación · Valor · Ein Sof.


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