On luck, Responsibility and the meaning of life

Berit Brogaard, Barry Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


A meaningful life, we shall argue, is a life upon which a certain sort of valuable pattern has been imposed by the person in question—a pattern which involves in serious ways the person having an effect upon the world. Meaningfulness is thus a special kind of value which a human life can bear. Two interrelated difficulties face ths proposal. One concerns responsiblity: how are we to account for the fact that a life that satisfies the above criteria can have more meaning than a life with the same positive outcomes but which lacks responsiblity on the part of the agent? The other turns on these outcomes themselves: how can the meaningfulness engendered by actions you perform now be affected by what those actions go on to produce in the future, perhaps even after your death? We provide a response to both of these difficulties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-458
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophical Papers
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'On luck, Responsibility and the meaning of life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this