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Philosophy

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Title: Philosophy


1
Philosophy
  • A Short Introduction

2
What is Philosophy?
  • Philosophy is about
  • Finding answers to serious questions about
    ourselves and about the world we live in
  • What is morally right and wrong? And why?
  • What is a good life?
  • Does God exist?
  • What is the mind?
  • What is art?
  • Is the world really as it appears to us?
  • What can we know?
  • and much, much more
  • Questioning existing knowledge and intuitions to
    get closer to the truth

3
What will you do when studying Philosophy?
  • Philosophy is different from many other arts
    subjects
  • To study philosophy you have to do philosophy
  • We analyze and criticize existing arguments
  • We construct our own arguments
  • We use fun thought experiments too

4
What will you get out of Philosophy?
  • Skills that will help you
  • With your other studies
  • Good career prospects
  • Understand yourself and the world around you
  • Prevent being conned and duped

5
What will you get out of Philosophy?
  • The skills are
  • Critical thinking,
  • Argument skills,
  • Communication,
  • Reasoning,
  • Analysis,
  • Problem solving
  • Which allow you to
  • Justify your opinions
  • Spot a bad argument, no matter what the topic
  • Explain to people why they are wrong and you are
    right
  • Philosophy basically teaches you to think!

6
Health Safety Warning
  • Philosophy can be dangerous!
  • Youll have the skills to poke holes in just
    about everything anyone says
  • (which often doesnt go down so well)
  • With great power, comes great responsibility
  • Make sure that you use your powers for good!

7
Ground Rules
  • Philosophy is not angry debating or arguing
  • Dont make others feel bad by arguing them into a
    corner
  • Dont pick holes just because you can
  • Be charitable (its what good philosophers do)
  • Be constructive work together to find the
    truth!
  • If you all respect each other (and me!), then
    youll all get the chance to have your say

8
The Philosophy Subjects
  • What is it to know something (and how can we come
    to know something)?
  • Epistemology, philosophy of science, logic
  • What is there (and what are the natures of these
    things)?
  • Metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of
    religion
  • What has value (and why)?
  • Aesthetics, moral political philosophy

9
Knowledge
  • What can we have knowledge about?
  • What does it mean to have knowledge about
    something?
  • Where can we get knowledge from?
  • How can we get knowledge?
  • Are we just brains in vats?
  • Can we be sure we know anything?!
  • Descartes I think, therefore I am

10
Metaphysics
  • What is time?
  • Is time travel possible?
  • Was there time before the universe?
  • How did the universe start?
  • What happened before the universe?
  • Is everything in the universe caused?
  • Is it possible for us to have free will?
  • What is the meaning of life?

11
Philosophy of Religion
  • What are the arguments for believing in a god?
  • Do those arguments give good reason to believe in
    a God?
  • What are the arguments that certain kinds of Gods
    cannot exist?
  • Do those arguments give good reason not to
    believe in a certain type of God?
  • Why would a God who is all powerful, and all good
    let bad things happen to innocent people?

12
Aesthetics
  • How can we tell what is art and what isnt?
  • Is popular art bad for us?
  • Why do people enjoy watching scary movies?

13
Moral Political Philosophy
  • Are there universal moral facts?
  • What is the best possible life someone can have?
  • What makes actions morally right or wrong?
  • What is the best form of government?
  • Are human rights real?
  • When, if ever, is it permissible to go to war?

14
Applied Ethics
  • Applying moral theories to current real life
    situations to assess what we should do
  • Topics include
  • Animal rights
  • Environmental ethics
  • Euthanasia
  • Abortion
  • Cloning and genetic engineering
  • Business ethics (e.g. is advertising immoral?)
  • Global poverty

15
Lets do Some Philosophy Two Thought Experiments
  • The Trolley Bus Problem and the Spare Parts
    Surgeon are examples of problems you will find in
    ethics courses
  • We can use thought experiments like these to work
    out what is going on when we make a moral
    judgement and
  • Give insight into what makes moral judgements
    right and wrong

16
The Tram Dilemma
  • An out of control tram will soon kill 5 people
    who are stuck on the track.
  • You can flick a switch to divert the tram to
    another track where only one person is stuck.
  • Should you flip the switch?
  • Should you kill one person to save five?

SWITCH
17
The Surgeons Dilemma
  • You are a surgeon with six patients.
  • Five of them need major organ transplants.
  • The sixth, an ideal donor for all the relevant
    organs, is in hospital for a minor operation.
  • Should you kill one person to save five?

18
Whats going on here?
  • Should you kill one person to save five?
  • Trolley Dilemma yes
  • Surgeon Dilemma no
  • If you have two conflicting intuitions then
    either
  • there must be some morally relevant difference
    between the two cases, or
  • One or more of your intuitions is wrong
  • So which is it?

19
Philosophy
  • 2 Moral Theory

20
The Philosophy Subjects (Again)
  • What is it to know something (and how can we come
    to know something)?
  • Epistemology, philosophy of science, logic
  • What is there (and what are the natures of these
    things)?
  • Metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of
    religion
  • What has value (and why)?
  • Aesthetics, moral political philosophy

21
Back to Moral Theory
  • We want to know what makes actions morally right
    or wrong
  • And, how can we know?
  • Moral common sense might not be enough

22
(Remember) The Tram Dilemma
  • An out of control tram will soon kill 5 people
    who are stuck on the track.
  • You can flick a switch to divert the tram to
    another track where only one person is stuck.
  • Should you flip the switch?
  • Should you kill one person to save five?

SWITCH
23
(Remember) The Surgeons Dilemma
  • You are a surgeon with six patients.
  • Five of them need major organ transplants.
  • The sixth, an ideal donor for all the relevant
    organs, is in hospital for a minor operation.
  • Should you kill one person to save five?

24
Whats going on here?
  • Should you kill one person to save five?
  • Trolley Dilemma yes
  • Surgeon Dilemma no
  • If you have two conflicting intuitions then
    either
  • there must be some morally relevant difference
    between the two cases, or
  • One or more of your intuitions is wrong
  • So which is it?

25
Morally Relevant Differences?
  • You guys try to spot some
  • And Ill try to explain them away

26
Did Our Moral Common Sense get it Wrong?
  • Should you kill one person to save five?
  • Trolley Dilemma yes
  • Surgeon Dilemma no
  • Does anyone think one answer is wrong?

27
Jungle Dilemma
  • You are trekking alone in the Amazon.
  • You discover an evil army officer and his troops
    rounding up villagers.
  • Unless you kill one, the troops will kill six.
  • Should you kill one person to save five?

28
Jungle Dilemma Cont.
  • What if there are 2 villagers?
  • What if there are 10 villagers?
  • What if there are 100 villagers?
  • Can you ever kill one innocent person to save
    many?

29
Two Main Methods
  • Consequences (consequentialism)
  • Fixed rules (deontological)
  • You can/cant/must/mustnt do X, Y Z
  • Or a combination (this counts as deontological)
  • Are there any rules that will never need an
    exception?

30
Example Pushing In
  • Is pushing in generally wrong?
  • What makes pushing in wrong?
  • Is pushing in ever morally permissible?
  • What can make it (morally) OK?

31
Deontological
  • Who decides what the rules are?
  • They need to be consistent
  • They cant be too specific
  • Perhaps a rule for making rules?

32
Divine Command Theory
  • Right acts are right because
  • They are the actions that God commands we perform
  • Problem The Euthyphro Dilemma

33
The Euthyphro Dilemma
  • Either
  • (1) The act is right only because God commanded
    that we do it
  • Or
  • (2) God commanded that we do it because the act
    is right for independent reasons
  • (1) morality and Gods commands are arbitrary
  • (2) abandon Divine Command Theory

34
The Law
  • Wrong acts are wrong because
  • They break the law
  • Problem Do we always feel like we have done
    something morally wrong when we break the law?

35
Cultural Relativism
  • Right acts are right because
  • your culture approves of them
  • Four Problems
  • Cant criticize other cultures
  • Cant criticize your own culture
  • No moral progress
  • Its just not how we decide in the hard cases

36
The Golden Rule
  • Right acts are right because
  • they are the ones you would want done to you
  • Problems
  • People like different things (e.g. Masochists)
  • Is it how we decide in the hard cases?

37
Kantianism
  • What makes right acts right?
  • An act is right if its maxim treats humanity as
    an end in itself and not merely as a means
  • Maxims are
  • Like policies
  • What you intend to do in certain situations

38
Consequentialism
  • Evaluate the likely consequences of each possible
    action
  • Then compare them
  • But what criteria to use to evaluate??
  • Happiness?
  • Preference satisfaction?
  • A lot of things?

39
Philosophy
  • 3 Philosophy of Religion

40
The Argument from Evil
  • (P1) If God exists, he is omnibenevolent,
    omnipotent and omniscient. By Christian
    Definition
  • (P2) An omnibenevolent being would prevent any
    unnecessary evil if she could and knew how.
  • (P3) An omnipotent being could prevent all
    unnecessary evil.
  • (P4) An omniscient being would know all about
    unnecessary evils and how to prevent them.
  • (P5) Therefore, if God exists, there is no
    unnecessary evil.
  • (P6) But there is unnecessary evil.
  • (C) Therefore, God does not exist.

41
Defining Unnecessary Evil
  • Evil is suffering of an innocent
  • Unnecessary evil is the suffering of an innocent
    that does not create some compensating good
  • So, for P6 to be true, there just needs to be one
    occurrence of an innocent person suffering
    without some compensating good
  • For example
  • A child being tortured
  • A child being horribly burned by a meteor strike

42
Potential Objections (to P6)
  • Suffering is not really a bad thing.
  • Suffering is always a form of deserved
    punishment.
  • Evil is an illusion people dont really suffer
    at all.
  • Evil is necessary for a greater good that our
    finite human minds could not hope to comprehend.
  • Evil is necessary so that we may know the
    contrast between good and evil.
  • Evil is necessary in order for us to exemplify
    virtues.
  • Evil is a necessary consequence of free will.

43
Evil is a Necessary Consequence of Free Will
  • God gave us free will
  • Some people use their free will to create evil
  • God could prevent all of us from wanting to do
    evil,
  • but then it wouldnt really be free will
  • God could make nature intervene somehow to stop
    us from doing evil,
  • but then the laws of nature would not be
    consistent and it would be very hard for us to
    predict consequences.
  • This would make having free will pointless
    (because we choose to do things based on what we
    expect the consequences to be)
  • Therefore, there is no unnecessary evil

44
Is All Evil Necessary for Free Will?
  • Recall the example
  • A child being horribly burned by a meteor strike

45
A Common Atheistic Argument
  • (P1) There is no evidence for Gods existence
  • (P2) A lack of evidence is reason to believe
    there is a lack
  • (C) Therefore, there is reason to believe that
    God does not exist
  • So, no evidence is not neutral no evidence of
    something is a reason against it

46
A Type of Reply Cosmological Arguments
  • Cosmological arguments try to posit incredible
    things about the universe that need an
    explanation.
  • God is suggested as the best explanation.
  • Together, the argument and the suggestion are
    evidence that (some kind of) God does exist.
  • So, the atheistic argument is wrong.

47
A Type of Cosmological ArgumentThe Fine-Tuning
Argument
  • (P1) It is an indisputable and yet remarkable
    fact that the universe appear to have been
    designed.
  • (P2) The best explanation for this appearance of
    design is that the universe really is designed.
  • (P3) Inference to the Best Explanation it is
    rational to believe the best explanation for an
    observation.
  • (P4) Therefore, one should believe that a
    designer of the universe exists.
  • (P5) God is the designer of the universe.
  • (C) Therefore, one should believe that God exists.

48
Evidence for P1 of the Fine-Tuning Argument
  • If the initial explosion of the big bang had
    differed in strength by as little as 1 part in
    1060, the universe would have either quickly
    collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly
    for stars to form. In either case, life would be
    impossible.
  • Calculations indicate that if the strong nuclear
    force, the force that binds protons and neutrons
    together in an atom, had been stronger or weaker
    by as little as 5, life would be impossible.

49
Evidence for P1 of the Fine-Tuning Argument
(Cont.)
  • Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if
    gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in
    1040, then life-sustaining stars like the sun
    could not exist. This would most likely make life
    impossible.
  • If the neutron were not about 1.001 times the
    mass of the proton, all protons would have
    decayed into neutrons or all neutrons would have
    decayed into protons, and thus life would not be
    possible.
  • If the electromagnetic force were slightly
    stronger or weaker, life would be impossible, for
    a variety of different reasons.

50
Arguing Against P2 of the Fine-Tuning Argument
  • Some physicists believe in M-theory
  • M-theory explains big bangs and all phenomena we
    experience (without positing a designer)
  • What is the evidence for M-Theory?
  • Its under construction

51
So, Is a God the Best Explanation?
  • Even if M-Theory is true, where did all of the
    strings come from?
  • Maybe God designed M-theory.
  • But, who designed God?
  • Is there really any good evidence for any
    position?

52
Philosophy
  • 4 Are We Brains in a Vat?

53
Easy Questions
  • What did you eat for breakfast today?
  • Where do you live?
  • Do you know what the time is?

54
Hard Questions
  • How do you know what you ate for breakfast today?
  • How do you know that your experience of eating
    breakfast today was not an illusion??
  • How do you know that everything you have ever
    experienced is not illusionary?
  • How do you know you are not in the Matrix?

55
Dans Skeptical Argument
  • (P1) For any of you have knowledge of anything,
    then you must know that you are not in the Matrix
  • (P2) You cannot know
  • that you are not in the
  • Matrix
  • (C) Therefore, you
  • cannot have knowledge
  • of anything

56
The Movie Theatre Model of the Mind
57
But Do Our Sense Organs Ever Trick Us?
  • Yes
  • We are tricked by illusions all of the time!
  • The illusion of simultaneous touching and feeling

58
Example of Illusions
59
Example of Illusions
60
More Visual Illusions
  • http//www.michaelbach.de/ot/index.html

61
Descartes
  • (P1) I think
  • (C) Therefore, I exist
  • This argument is circular
  • The conclusion is already assumed in the premise
  • Its based on strong experiential evidence
  • We have the experience of thinking

62
Dans Skeptical Argument
  • (P1) For any of you have knowledge of anything,
    then you must know that you are not in the Matrix
  • (P2) You cannot know
  • that you are not in the
  • Matrix
  • (C) Therefore, you
  • cannot have knowledge
  • of anything

63
Time Travel
64
Time Travel is Possible!!!
  • This might be a hoax, but time travel really is
    possible
  • In fact, many of us have already done it

65
Being Specific about Time Travel
  • Actually going to the future or past
  • Not just some replica of it
  • Its all relative
  • For me to time travel, there would need to be a
    difference between the speed time passes for me
    and the speed time passes for someone or everyone
    else

66
What is Forward Time Travel?
  • Forward time travel my time goes slower than
    yours (like aging slower than everyone else)
  • My time goes slower than yours as my speed
    increases (relative to yours) and/or if I am
    closer to mass than you (and if that mass
    increases)

67
What is Backwards Time Travel?
  • What to me, it seems like your time is reversing
    into our shared past
  • How space-time (where I am) is warped so
    significantly that it creates a closed time-like
    loop or wormhole to our shared past
  • The loop allows me to travel faster than the
    speed of light (not absolutely, but relative to
    our past as we know it or you watching me go
    through it)

68
A Closed Time-Like Loop
69
The Case of Jocasta Jones
  • Follow the story and keep your eye out for
  • Weird happenings
  • Illegal acts

70
The Case of Jocasta Jones
Jocastas 2000
Jocastas 2019
Jocastas 2001
Jocastas 1900?
Jocastas 1910?
71
The No Destination Objection
  • If you missed the first lecture, you may still
    believe
  • That the past no longer exists
  • That the future doesnt exist yet
  • That only the present time exists
  • If you believe this, then time travel is
    impossible because there is no other time to
    travel to

72
Reply to the No Destination Objection
  • 4-Dimensional space-time
  • It only seems like the past and future dont
    exist because we are not aware of them
  • We the event that is our consciousness at this
    current time and place in 4-D space-time
  • 4-Dimensional space-time is widely accepted in
    physics and
  • Einstein came up with it

73
Time Discrepancy Paradoxes
  • If you missed the first lecture, you may still
    believe
  • That time or the passage of time is a constant
  • That time passes the same for everyone and
    everything everywhere
  • That Newtonian or absolute time exists
  • If you believe this, then time travel is
    impossible because it involves differences in how
    time passes between the time traveller and
    everyone else

74
Reply to the Time Discrepancy Paradoxes
  • 4-Dimensional space-time
  • It turns out that time (and the spatial
    dimensions) are relative
  • Time is not fixed or absolute or constant
  • The speed of light is constant, but time is
    relative to speed and proximity to mass
  • Physicists have proven this and
  • Einstein came up with it

75
The In Two Places at Once Paradox
  • No one person can wholly be in two places at once
  • Wholly is important here
  • If you believe this, (which you should) then
    doesnt that mean time travel is impossible?
  • (because it would allow you to go and wish
    yourself many happy returns at your last birthday
    party)

76
Reply to the In Two Places at Once Paradox
  • Big spatial objects have different parts that
    make up its whole.- e.g. the North Island
  • But, despite what Aucklanders think, the North
    Island is never wholly located in one part
  • All objects are really spatio-temporal objects
  • In this moment, I am not the whole of me
  • Right now I am just a spatio-temporal part of the
    whole that is me throughout space-time
  • Just like tectonic plates (different parts of the
    earths crust) can rub against each other, Its
    possible for me(present part) to shake my(past
    part) own hand at my last birthday

77
The Paradox of Changing the Past
  • If you could go back in time, you could do more
    study for the test and get a better mark
  • But, you already have a mark! You cant change
    it its part of history now!
  • P1) If time travel is possible, then you could
    change the past
  • P2) It is never possible to change the past
  • C) Therefore, time travel must not be possible

78
Replying to the Paradox of Changing the Past
  • Denying P1 Time travel is possible, but it does
    not and cannot change the past
  • When you time travel, you create a new alternate
    universe
  • So you can change things, but not things from the
    past in our universe
  • When you time travel, you can affect the past
    because you already did
  • You dont change history you had already
    affected it!
  • An accurate history book would already have a
    record of you being there!

79
The Grandfather Paradox
  • If you could go back in time, you could kill your
    grandfather before he could produce any offspring
  • But, if you did that, then there would have been
    no you to make a time machine and go and kill
    him!
  • Which means that you cant have killed him

80
The Grandfather Paradox (Cont.)
  • P1) If time travel is possible, then you could
    kill your grandfather (before he had kids)
  • P2) It is impossible for you to have existed if
    you succeed in killing your grandfather (before
    he had kids)
  • C) Therefore, time travel must not be possible

81
Replying to the Grandfather Paradox 1
  • Denying P1 Time travel is possible, but you do
    not and cannot kill your grandfather
  • When you time travel, you create a new alternate
    universe
  • So you can kill some old guy but its not your
    grandfather (not from your past)
  • But does time travelling to an alternate universe
    really count?
  • Is it time travel or inter-universal travel?
  • For time travel to be meaningful does it have to
    be to our own past?

82
Replying to the Grandfather Paradox 2
  • Denying P1 Time travel is possible, but you do
    not and cannot kill your grandfather
  • When you time travel, you can affect the past
    because you already did
  • This justification doesnt work this time
  • If you had already been there and killed your
    grandfather then you would never have existed

83
Replying to the Grandfather Paradox 3
  • Denying P1 Time travel is possible, but you do
    not and cannot kill your grandfather
  • When you time travel, you can attempt to kill
    your grandfather, but you will never succeed

84
Replying to the Grandfather Paradox 3
  • Denying P1 Time travel is possible, but you do
    not and cannot kill your grandfather
  • When you time travel, you can attempt to kill
    your grandfather, but you will never succeed
  • It doesnt have to be magic or Time Guardians
    that prevents the impossible from happening
  • Because its impossible to kill your grandfather
    its necessarily true that you didnt kill him
  • (however that came about)

85
OK Fine, but where are the Time Travellers, then?
  • P1) If time travel ever becomes possible in the
    future, then time travellers would most likely
    have visited our past already
  • P2) But there is no evidence of time travellers
    in our past
  • P3) It is very unlikely that the time travellers
    could have left no evidence
  • C) Therefore, its very unlikely that time
    travel ever becomes possible

86
Replying to the No Evidence of Time Travellers
Problem 1
  • Accept the argument
  • Its true that there are no time travellers but
    only because
  • Global warming, or
  • Nuclear war, or
  • Super-viruses, or
  • The robotic uprising of the (very) late nineties
  • killed off all of the humans before we got
    around to making time machines!

87
Replying to the No Evidence of Time Travellers
Problem 2
  • Denying P1 Only when time travel becomes
    possible (by a human creating and turning on a
    time machine a closed time-like loop) would we
    expect to start seeing things appear from the
    future (recall what Dr. Mallett said)
  • So, we wont expect to see anything until the
    first closed time-like loop is set up

88
Replying to the No Evidence of Time Travellers
Problem 3
  • But what about naturally occurring closed
    time-like loops?
  • If these exist in the future, then they could be
    used to travel to our past
  • Sure they could but they would have to
    conveniently connect the right two
    location-moments in space-time
  • This is just like aliens possibly existing
  • They may just be too far away in space-time for
    us to ever meet

89
Take-Home Lessons
  • Time travel in movies is usually illogical, but
  • Time travel is theoretically and logically
    possible in real life
  • But if you have homicidal intentions towards your
    ancestors
  • then make sure that you look out for banana
    skins

90
How to Find out More
  • Want to know more about time, time travel and how
    they impact on other topics from this course
    (like free will)?
  • Enroll in the metaphysics course next year (or
    the year after) PHIL225/325
  • Keep up with the latest science news
  • C.E.R.Ns L.H.C. (Large Hadron Collider)
  • http//lhc.web.cern.ch/lhc/
  • Dr. Ronald Mallet (real time machine maker)
  • http//www.physics.uconn.edu/mallett/main/main.ht
    m

91
The Meaning of Life
92
Absurd in the Ordinary Sense
  • A noticeable difference between what someone
    intends or claims and reality
  • A clash between the internal and external
    perspectives
  • George Bush doesnt think hes a kitten-eater,
    but
  • Everyone else knows that he is

93
Absurd to Philosophers
  • The dramatic difference between
  • Our (internal) perception of the significance of
    our lives
  • The objective (external) perception of the
    significance of our lives
  • Its absurd because, from the external view, our
    lives have only a tiny fraction of the
    significance that we feel and act as though it has

94
Our Significance from the Inside
  • Every event in the universe is viewed by its
    actual and likely impacts on us
  • Events are only significant if they are likely to
    or actually do significantly affect us
  • The universe revolves around us
  • We are all like this to some extent, but some
    people dont realise that this is the same for
    other people!
  • You may know people like this

95
Our Significance from the Outside
  • Each and every one of us are completely
    insignificant to 99.9999999999999999999 of what
    exists
  • When heat death kills the universe, our plans
    would seem beyond insignificant to anything left
    to observe
  • Even if we do have free will, so many of our
    choices are still the result of our prior
    causes
  • Why will most of you vote for the same political
    party that your parents do?
  • Why are you (and not all the other try-hards) so
    individual?

96
The Human Condition
  • Also known as the Human Situation
  • From the inside, our significance is paramount
  • From the outside, our significance is basically
    none-existent
  • The Human Condition is being aware of the
    contradiction between these two points, the
    absurdity of our situation
  • Humans are thought to be unique in their ability
    to be aware of this situation

97
The Myth of Sisyphus
  • Sisyphus made a deal with the Gods and then went
    back on it
  • They punished him by giving him a meaningless
    chore to do for eternity
  • Nothing comes of Sisyphus labours
  • And nothing will ever come of them
  • His existence is meaningless

98
What if He Wanted to Roll Rocks?
  • Imagine that the Gods changed Sisyphus desires
    so that all he wants to do is roll the rock up
    the hill
  • He now gets exactly what he wants for all
    eternity
  • Sounds great!
  • But, does this make his existence any more
    meaningful?

99
Taylor on Meaning
  • Meaninglessness is endless pointlessness
  • Meaningfulness is activity with a point, a
    result, a significant culmination
  • So, which of these best represents all life as we
    know it?
  • This includes plants and animals

100
Is Life (in General) Meaningful? 1
  • Glow worms, cicadas and the meaningless cycle of
    life
  • The only point of any living things life is just
    life itself

101
Is Life (in General) Meaningful? 2
  • Humans also follow and perpetuate the meaningless
    cycle of life
  • We imagine that we have goals and plans, but are
    they really for anything other than surviving and
    reproducing?
  • Even when our achievements create lasting
    results, like building a temple, how long will it
    persist and will it prevent our children from
    merely surviving and reproducing?

102
The Meaning of Life is Life Itself?
  • This answer is not very satisfying
  • Many people have religious beliefs that centre
    around a departure from this meaningless cycle
  • Going to heaven
  • Becoming enlightened, etc.
  • But which religion is right?
  • Are there any good reasons to believe one over
    another?

103
What Does What is the Meaning of Life Mean? 1
  • What does life mean? (Not interesting)
  • To us, it means not being dead or lifeless
  • To a God, it might mean amusement or experiment
  • To a plant, it probably doesnt mean anything
  • What is the purpose for life?
  • Various religious purposes
  • To continue the cycle of life
  • There is no purpose for life
  • But, if there is a purpose for life, then life is
    meaningless!!

104
A Purpose for Life Makes it Meaningless
  • P1) If life has an ultimate purpose, then it must
    be either possible or impossible to fulfill that
    purpose
  • P2) If its impossible, then life is cruel and
    meaningless
  • P3) If it is possible, then
  • not fulfilling it would make your life
    meaningless
  • and fulfilling it would also make your life
    meaningless (because then there would be no more
    point to it!)
  • C) Therefore, if life has an ultimate purpose,
    then life is meaningless

105
What Does What is the Meaning of Life Mean? 2
  • So, perhaps the best way to understand this
    question is taking it to mean
  • How can we make our lives meaningful?

106
How Can We Make Our Lives Meaningful? 1
  • The answer should be objective
  • We should all be able to follow whatever the
    answer is and be able to make our lives
    meaningful
  • Follow religious guidance (and make sure you pick
    the right one)
  • Taylor Simply understand that the meaning of
    life is to live in the manner in which it is our
    nature to live
  • The glow worm does what is in its nature

107
How Can We Make Our Lives Meaningful? 2
  • Taylor For humans, then, the meaning of life is
    living as we will to live
  • This might make you dissatisfied with our lot,
    but remember if there were a purpose for life,
    then life would very likely be cruel and
    meaningless!
  • Taylor So, the meaning of life comes from within
    us living in accordance with our will is how we
    can achieve meaning in our lives

108
What Does this Mean for Us?
  • Taylor So, the meaning of life comes from within
    us living in accordance with our will is how we
    can achieve meaning in our lives
  • We are beings-towards-a-future
  • Our plans are the only significant thing we have
    only the pursuit of them brings meaning to our
    lives
  • These plans are absurdly insignificant from the
    outside, but not so from the inside thank
    goodness!
  • Without the subjective importance of our own
    plans, our lives would truly be meaningless

109
Dealing With Doubt
  • But, what do you do if you have a bout of feeling
    that life is meaningless?
  • Watch a child play and see how the tiniest idea
    or object can mean so much to them
  • And remember, the fact that your experiences feel
    real to you is enough to give life meaning
  • And that the same is true of others as well
  • So, make some plans, do something fun, or just do
    something that will make someone else feel good!

110
Take-Home Lessons
  • Dont drop out of school or you might end up with
    a job like Sisyphus
  • Dont ever let George Bush cuddle your kitten
  • No one likes it when you act like you are the
    centre of the universe
  • With the power to wear a Spiderman costume, comes
    the responsibility not to do it in public
  • The meaning of life is the same for all life
  • Taylor The meaning of life is the meaning that
    each of us continuously experiences in our lives
    through the act of living

111
How to Find Out More
  • Enroll in more philosophy courses and try to
    reconcile your findings about ethics, free will,
    time, biology, what it means to really know
    something, consciousness etc.
  • And/or just think and talk about it
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