Does life have to have meaning for us to be happy? The answer is not self-evident. First of all, because not everyone has the same opinion on the subject. Secondly, because we have to agree on what we mean by "being happy".
This is what emerges from the initial work carried out by Florian Cova, assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy (Faculty of Arts), and his colleagues in a research project that began in 2019 and is supported by an Eccellenza grant from the National Fund for Scientific Research until 2024.
The question of the meaning of life is quite recent in philosophy," the researcher says. Perhaps this is because, in the past, life was punctuated by all sorts of beliefs and myths which meant that this questioning had no real place. Things began to change with the development of industrial societies in the 19th century and the gradual erosion of the religious fact. The idea that life must have meaning in order to be happy is now widely accepted. Many experiments have been carried out to measure the extent to which people either seek a meaning to their existence or find that their lives already have one. The problem is that it is not always clear what lies behind these measures. The aim of our project is to dispel this vagueness and to determine to what extent this quest is universal or, on the contrary, specific to our societies. »