No objective meaning

This page is unfinished. It may be a mere placeholder in the book outline. Or, the text below (if any) may be a summary, or a discussion of what the page will say, or a partial or rough draft.

Rumcake and Rainbows” suggested that meaningness is neither objective nor subjective, but interactive. On that basis, we could dismiss nihilist complaints that nothing has any objective meaning simply by saying “yes, and that isn’t a problem, because it doesn’t imply anything is meaningless.”

If you are happy with that, you could skip the rest of this page. However, it leaves many legitimate questions unanswered. It would also fail to address powerful intuitions that objectivity of meaning is important. We’ll see that some of those intuitions point to important features that meaningness does have.

“Meaningness is interactive, not objective or subjective” is also simplistic in suggesting that these three are clearly-defined, absolute categories, which they are not. “Objectivity,” in particular, disintegrates into a mass of conflicting intuitions based in metaphors of experienced activity. Whether or not something counts as “objective” depends on what you are trying to do. And it of often better to think about objectivity as a matter of degree, not an absolute yes/no distinction.

Sorting this out in full conceptual detail would be an enormous job, and it’s not necessary for the practical concerns of Meaningness. However, we’ll return to the task repeatedly throughout the book, filling in particular bits of the picture. This page sketches some issues broadly, intending specifically to ameliorate both eternalist and nihilist concerns that non-objective meaning means nothing at all.