Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 4, No 1-2 (2008)

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Why Even Mind? -- On The A Priori Value Of “Life”

Amien Kacou


This article presents an analysis of the matter of the “meaning” of life in terms of whether it should even be lived in the first place. It begins with an attempt at defining the question as an inquiry on the a priori value of attention in general, and develops into an axiological reflection distantly inspired from Martin Heidegger’s notion of “care.” The main objective of the article is (1) to “answer” the question (or to proceed as if the question could be answered) objectively by “playing along” with its naïve logic—that is, by finding a basis for comparing the good that can be found a priori in life (mainly, pleasure) with the good that can be found a priori in death (mainly, the absence of pain)—and, then, (2) to suggest why we have no good reason to feel dissatisfied with where this leaves us (i.e., possibly facing a certain specter of ethical foundationalism: the question of the “value of value”). Its basic conclusion is, assuming we are committed to assigning value to life in general, that we should be able to say that life is good irrespective of any explanation for its existence.

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