Good Fit versus Meaning in Life (pages 309-324)

Wim de Muijnck

ABSTRACT: Meaning in life is too important not to study systematically, but doing so is made difficult by conceptual indeterminacy. An approach to meaning that is promising but, indeed, conceptually vague is Jonathan Haidt’s ‘cross-level coherence’ account. In order to remove the vagueness, I propose a concept of ‘good fit’ that a) captures central aspects of meaning as it is discussed in the literature; b) brings the subject of meaning under the survey of the dynamicist or ‘embodied-embedded’ philosophy of cognition; and c) allows the theoretical discussion on meaning to become more focused and systematic. The article addresses two apparent problems with the idea of ‘good fit,’ namely the fact that both challenges and relations of an agent with the outside world are central to meaning. It is finally pointed out which implications adopting the concept of ‘good fit’ instead of ‘meaning’ would have.

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