Sign In
Not register? Register Now!
You are here: HomeEssayReligion & Theology
6 pages/≈1650 words
3 Sources
Religion & Theology
English (U.S.)
MS Word
Total cost:
$ 24.3

The Meaning of Life: Taylor and Kekes (Essay Sample)


This paper was the final essay for the unit “The Meaning of Life,” which required students to compare and contrast the views on the meaning of life of two philosophers covered in class and state who has the better view and why. The essay discussed the views of Richard Taylor and John Kekes. It provided clear and plausible reasons for why John Kekes has the better view. The essay also discussed the problems or omissions of Taylor’s view and the potential problems of Kekes’ perspective on the meaning of life. The mark attained on the essay was 99%.


The Meaning of Life: Taylor and Kekes
Richard Taylor (2018) and John Kekes (2000) provide interesting and compelling perspectives on the question of the meaning of life. Both philosophers agree that the question of whether life has any meaning, though difficult to interpret, is an important one that calls for our attention. In his attempt to answer this question, Taylor (2018) takes a more circuitous route by examining the notion of a meaningless existence and contrasting it with a meaningful one. He concludes that objectively (viewed from the outside), our lives are meaningless. However, we can still find meaning subjectively. We give our lives meaning by actively engaging in the projects we desire, even if they accomplish nothing lasting or fulfilling. On the other hand, Kekes (2000) explores the religious and moral answers to this question and rejects them both. He proposes that because neither the subjective nor objective approach works, meaningful lives take a plurality of forms. In my opinion, Kekes (2000) has a better view of the meaning of life. I think that although meaning is subjective, that is, depends on an individual’s desires or ends, it should be grounded in objective value, constituted, at least in part, by something beyond the attitudes of the subject. This pluralistic approach leads me to conclude, as Kekes (2000) does, that there is no general answer to the question of the meaning of life. Meaningful lives may take various forms. But first, I will examine Taylor’s and Kekes’ views in more detail.
According to Taylor (2018), we can derive the meaning of life by looking at a meaningless existence and contrasting it with a meaningful one. He utilizes Camus’ image of Sisyphus as archetypical of meaninglessness. Sisyphus was condemned by the gods to roll a large boulder up a hill, only for the rock to tumble back down, forcing him to repeat the task without end. His toil had neither purpose nor goal; his existence amounted to nothing. Taylor (2018) suggests that Sisyphus’ life is not meaningless because of the difficult and endless nature of the task; it is rather its pointlessness (p.130). Even if the hill were gentle or the rock light, we would still look at Sisyphus’s plight in the same light. Nothing would ever come of his labors.
Taylor (2018) invites us to imagine that Sisyphus' work was directed at building a temple on the mountaintop (p.131). Looking from the outside, his labors might seem to have a point, some meaning. This, he calls objective meaning (Taylor, 2018, p.131). Taylor (2018) goes on to consider if life on earth is meaningful in the objective sense (p.131). He argues that all life on earth is much like Sisyphus’: it is a long series of struggles and attempts which eventually end in death. For humans, all of our projects eventually fall into ruin (Taylor, 2018, p.131). However, despite the objective pointlessness of human life, we can find subjective meaning. Returning to Sisyphus, Taylor (2018) thinks that had Sisyphus’ life been imbued with a desire to roll stones up the hill, then his life would have had meaning (p.134). Similarly, the lack of objective meaning does, and should not, prevent us from finding subjective meaning. Taylor concludes meaning is found in the engagement of our will in the projects we pursue (Taylor, 2018, p.135). The meaning of life is purely subjective; it is not subject to the concerns or reasons of others. We can project meaning onto our own lives by doing what we desire, even if nothing lasting or fulfilling comes out of it.

Get the Whole Paper!
Not exactly what you need?
Do you need a custom essay? Order right now:

Other Topics:

  • A Commentary on the Book of Habakkuk
    Description: The Book of Habakkuk is one of the prophetic books in the Bible. As its name suggests, the Book has three brief chapters written by Habakkuk. Habakkuk seems to live during the era of King Josiah. Furthermore, thus, he might have given his prophecy during King Josiah's succession. Thus, the prophet knew...
    9 pages/≈2475 words| 5 Sources | APA | Religion & Theology | Essay |
  • Evidence That Early Humans Were Religious
    Description: The question of why and how humans became religious is still a mystery. There is a need first to understand prehistorical humans and what the tern religion means, as that would help bridge this gap of understanding. The question of whether early humans were religious lies in the archaeological evidence ...
    3 pages/≈825 words| 2 Sources | APA | Religion & Theology | Essay |
  • Factors That Led To The Spread Of Rastafarianism Outside Jamaica
    Description: Reggae music fuelled the spread of the Rastafarian religion overseas. According to Savishinsky (1994), this music acted as a medium upon which this religion spread from the island of Jamaica to North America, Europe, Africa, the Pacific, and New Zealand. He argues that the terms Rastafarianism and reggae ...
    2 pages/≈550 words| 4 Sources | APA | Religion & Theology | Essay |
Need a Custom Essay Written?
First time 15% Discount!