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April 2, 2010

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This is serendipitous! I recently had the strong intuition that at some future point in my academic career I would tackle the issue of meaningfulness. Isn't this what Adam Smith address in TMS? Meaningfulness (or fulfillment) produces peace of mind.

Our students are increasingly distracted by external noise and empty inside. I have an advisee who literally cannot sit 5 minutes without fiddling with his Blackberry; he's a nervous wreck.

Do students today have more or less meaning than students in other eras? I have no theory on this. But I do think this topic is of great academic interest.

I'm glad, Jonathan--I think meaning is better captured by the concept of purpose than fulfillment (which is part of Wolf's point too). And I wouldn't expect college students to have found purpose (and therefore fulfullment) yet.

Mark, I wonder if you've ever read David Schmidtz's essay 'The Meanings of Life' in the collection he edited on Robert Nozick for CUP? It's an excellent piece, though probably too complex and subtle to easily summarise, it is nevertheless well worth a read.

I don't think so, John - I've read a bit of Dave's stuff, but I don't think I've read that - thanks for the recommendation!

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