Re: The Meaning of Life

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 13:46:16 -0800

Tom Caylor wrote:
> On Feb 24, 6:10 pm, "Stathis Papaioannou" <> wrote:
>> On 2/24/07, Tom Caylor <> wrote:
>>>> The universe is not under any obligation to reveal itself to us. All we
>>> can
>>>> do is stumble around blindly gathering what data we can and make a best
>>>> guess as to what's going on.
>>> This is a metaphysical judgment. There are those who strongly
>>> disagree on rational grounds.
>> One of the problems with the verification principle of logical positivism
>> was that it, itself, cannot be verified by the verification principle, and
>> hence is subject to the charge of being part of the hated metaphysics (and,
>> I suppose, if it could be verified it would be subject to the charge that it
>> was a circular argument). But I would get around the problem by stating the
>> principles by which science works thus: IF you want to predict the weather,
>> build planes that fly, make sick people better THEN you should do such and
>> such. By putting it in this conditional form there is no metaphysical
>> component.
> I think you and/or Bruno talked about this internal conditional
> definition of "morality" before. But this is just logical inference
> inside a "closed" system of facts. IF this is true THEN this is
> true. There are no real normative statements here, and thus no real
> moral meaning. IF you want to torture babies, THEN you "should" do
> such and such. This definition of morality does not explain why we
> should want certain things and not others. This definition does not
> suppport the real noble things of morality such as compassion. Some
> examples are:
> IF you want to follow the Creator's path when your enemy strikes you
> on the cheek, THEN you should turn the other cheek and pray for him/
> her.
> IF you want to follow the Creator's path when it comes to a choice
> between your benefit and your neighbor's benefit, THEN you act for
> your neighbor's benefit.
> IF you want to follow the Creator's path when it comes to a choice
> between your life and your friend's life, THEN you should give your
> life.
> The thing that is different in this realm of true morality is that the
> Creator is a person that we can get to know (not totally, but in a
> process of growth just like any relationship), so that we aren't just
> cranking out IF/THEN inferences like a machine, but the Holy Spirit
> (analogous to All Soul in Bruno/Plotinus term) affirms with our spirit
> that a certain response or initiative in the current situation is in
> accord with the Creator's personal character. Thus, there is only so
> much convincing that one can do in a forum like this. The rest
> requires actually being shown God's love in a tangible way by another
> person. Then it is still up to each of us to decide how we respond.
> I insist that I am not going down the ontological argument path. If
> you want to categorize my argument from meaning, perhaps it is closest
> to Kant's argument from morality. In a scientific system, perhaps
> this is branded as "wishful thinking", but I am also insisting that
> science's basis (anything's basis actually), such as fundamentality,
> generality, beauty, "introspection" is also mystical wishful thinking,
> and naturality is circular, and reproducibility is circular in that
> its pragmatism begs the question of meaning (IF you want to do this,
> THEN reproducible experiments have shown that you "should" do such and
> such).
> Tom

You seem not to appreciate the inconsistency in trying to use someone else's morality, even The Creator's, as your own. Surely you've read Euthyphro.

Brent Meeker

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Received on Mon Feb 26 2007 - 16:46:35 PST

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