Life is Meaningless

Mon, Apr 06

Maybe there is nothing you can do to make your life meaningful--meaning, whatever it is, is not something we can attain. In this class, we will consider arguments for nihilism.  We'll also consider how a nihilistic worldview might shape moral decision-making, especially the value we place on creating life.

By the end of class:

  1. You will understand two different forms of argument for nihilism.
  2. You will reflect on what you think meaning could be as a form of value.
  3. You will connect nihilist and anti-natalist arguments to debates about inter-generational morality.

Read This:


Confessions (selections) (Tolstoy)

Book of Ecclesiastes: chap 1,  chap2,  chap 3


"The Case for Not Being Born" (The New Yorker)

Do This:

Complete the following reflection questions in your GGL Journal:

  1. If it's true that life is ultimately meaningless, would this be reason for comfort or despair?  Explain your answer, drawing on examples from your life.
  2. What should someone who thinks life is meaningless do about it?  Should nihilists have children?  Do you have to be a nihilist to be an anti-natalist?

Watch This: