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Tolstoy and Questions about Meaningfulness

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This paper lays out, partly by using Tolstoy’s life as a paradigmatic case, an approach to the question of what makes a life meaningful. It explains why the general question (‘What makes a life meaningful?’) and the personal question (‘Is my life meaningful?’) are two sides of the same coin. The general question has to be answered by considering the concerns people actually have when they ask the personal question, while the personal question has to be answered by applying to oneself the answer to the general question. According to this approach, answers to the general and the personal questions are important and useful to us because the concerns we have when we are troubled by the problem about meaningfulness will be addressed adequately.

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