RE: The Meaning of Life

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2007 10:37:55 +1100

Tom Caylor writes:
> On Jan 31, 10:33 am, Brent Meeker <> wrote:> > OK. But in that case your question is just half of the question, "Why do people have values?" If you have values then that mean some things will be good and some will be bad - a weed is just a flower in a place you don't want it. You must already know the obvious answer to this given by Darwin. And it doesn't even take a person; even amoebas have values. I suspect you have a set answer in mind and you're looking for the question to elicit it.> >> > Brent Meeker> >> Also Stathis wrote:> > Sure, logic and science are silent on the question of the value of weeds or anything else. You need a person to come along and say "let x=good", and then you can reason logically given this. Evolutionary theory etc. may predict what x a person may deem to be good or beautiful, but this is not binding on an individual in the way laws governing the chemistry of respiration, for example, are binding. Unlike some scientific types, I am quite comfortable with ethics being in this sense outside the scope of science. Unlike some religious types, I am quite comfortable without looking for an ultimate source of ethics in the form of a deity. Even if this conclusion made me very unhappy, that might be reason to try self-deception, but it has no bearing on the truth.> >> > Stathis Papaioannou> >> > Brent and Stathis exemplify two possible answers to meaning. Brent> reduces meaning to something based on mere existence or survival. Thus> amoebas can have such meaning.> Stathis says that meaning is an unanswered (unanswerable?) mystery.> We just somehow self-generate meaning.> > My introduction of the "Meaning Of Life" thread asked if the> Everything perspective could provide any answers to this question.> Looking at the contributions since then, it looks like the answer is> apparently not. This is what I expected. Thus, meaning is either> limited to trivial (non-normative) values or is without basis (the> Noble Lie). If you really read the modern philosophers seriously this> is their conclusion. Of course there is a third possible answer to> this question: Meaning is based on a source outside of ourselves, by> "making connections with others based on such ideals as honour and> obligation" (a quote I read from Dr. Laura Schlesinger off of a> Starbucks coffee cup this morning!) Of course people can poo-poo such> ideals as simply "sentiments", debunking them on a surface level> (which is the only level there is without them), just as C.S. Lewis> pointed out in his lectures on "The Abolition of Man". And indeed,> without such ideals, man will be discretized into a trivial skeleton> of his true self.> > Tom
You seem to keep arguing that it wouldn't be very nice if there were no ultimate meaning. Is there any actual evidence that this alleged meaning exists? For example, suppose a society believes that the Sky God provides ultimate meaning and live their lives happily, whereas it could be shown that they would all be miserable and kill each other if they believed it were not true. On this basis there may be reason to think that belief in the Sky God is useful, but is there any reason to think that belief in the Sky God is true?
Stathis Papaioannou
Get the new Windows Live Messenger!
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at
Received on Mon Feb 05 2007 - 18:38:02 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:13 PST