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Lecture 20

Lecture 20 & 21 KEKES

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York University
PHIL 1100
David Stamos

Lecture 20 The Meaning of Life – John Kekes  Richard Dawkins  “Purpose of the brain”  2000 ~Section 1~  Our lives spent through our routines (problems, success, happiness, failures)  The “Treadmill” (why keep going)  Life is like a treadmill page 239  Nature compels us to carry on, struggle  Tend to not reach adulthood (have no children)  Instincts to reproduce  High sex drive more reproduction, less sex drive less reproduction  Biology is statistical  Problem, the living today, we live in a privileged society, not like our ancestors  Have comfortable lives  No predators (bears) starvation (no food)  Instead, the problem is income (welfare), prestige (status), and self-esteem issues, all very psychological  If we want income, prestige, and high self-esteem our meaning of lives is shallow  Have the luxury to decide what is important  Children are indoctrinated (dictated)  Once turned into teens, they are very likely to be peer pressured  Adults are shaped by success (have this to that)  “Why should we put up with it?”  What is the meaning of it?  Maybe there is no meaning (meaningless)  “It shows that we may be mistaken in believing that our projects have meaning” (page 252)  “To think that the projects we regarded as meaningful were in fact meaningless” (page 252)  Sometimes have no meaning  Foolish to suppose that question is to have a satisfying answer (naive) to think that  Maybe a “trivial” answer  Richard Dawkins, says obsessed to find meaning  If one takes a view of meaningless, might go opposite route (bogus, despair) -> Synesisum  Poison the meaning of life, synesisum is harming us  Not surprising many simply ignore “The meaning of life” just live your life Lecture 20  Evasion (for when someone else does not deal with meaning of life and lives life anyways) { What Kekes is doing}  Eluding (diversion, life is a meaningless life, but lives anyways) { What Camus is doing}  View not dealing with life just living, is evasion Kekes says cannot/shouldn’t avoid the question  Those who are sick, unhappy, “is it worth fighting?” ~Section 2~ o 1800’s, John Stuart Mills was the biggest named in Utilitarianism  Fighting alone with his wife for allowing woman to vote o Major social biography o “The end goal has cease to charm” (John Mills)  Lost interest to meaning of life (page 243)  Nothing left to live for  Kekes says happens to everyone (goal is meaningful then meaningless since they lost interest) o Viktor Frankl “existential vacuum” o Kekes says one is caused by:  A loss of faith  Death of a deeply loved person Page 242  Recognized that it’s self deception, disillusion  Life is a tedious burden o Mills had a point to life, increase happiness  Came a time that there is a point where it is meaningless o Kekes says, Mills case shows that it is a mistake to suppose that there is some type of life... so we cannot fail to find a conclusion”  All the same, essentialism o Kekes indentifies meaning, Mills stopped caring (because of old age) Kekes says needs to care and be motivated  Religion and morality ~Section 3~  Involves science and religion  Religion goes beyond the order of the world, “if religion is reasonable, it will take science seriously and accept science and tries to answer the big question”  Science studies the nature order of things  Problem: turning to religion for answers is that there are too many answers for different religions  Kekes states of Sisyphus, that he gets the stone to the top and takes the stone to glorify the gods, shows that he had meaning OR god’s told Sisyphus his meaning (page 248)  Religious answer to the meaning of life Lecture 20  Essentialism Clusterism -> a, b, c, d (not all individually necessary, degrees of membership) ^ a, b, c, d (individually necessary, jointly sufficient for membership)  Statistical Thinking  Variation + Statistical Norm ~Section 4~ Rel
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