The Meaning of Life-Swenson

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14 Dec 2011
Lecture- 3 Theological answers to the meaning of life
-if we only live in the moment as animals do, then we have no eternal life.
-you can translate this into philosophy of mind. Different types of consciousness. The
difference between us and animals. The distinction he is talking about is when we are
living in the moment it is the self un-extended. Thinking of yourself in the future is the
extended view of self, this is essential to thinking of the meaning of life. To ponder the
meaning of life, you need an extended self.
-he makes a distinction between preparation for the external life for example career and
preparation for the internal life which is much more fundamental. What is the internal
life? He calls is it a view of life. The word weltanschauung comes into play which means
worldview, the most important is developing our world view.
-you ought to be putting more effort into a view of life rather than a career.
-it is a principle of living, a spirit and an attitude capable of maintaining its unity and
identity with itself.
-the importance is knowledge of yourself. It works from the inside out.
-this words with a famous quotation from Socrates- the unexamined life is not worth
-Swenson has a problem when it comes to world view. The problem is the use of the
world knowledge. If you do conceptual analysis you will find that in everyday life we use
this word in a number of ways. In science, law, business. The word knowledge means
beyond a reasonable doubt based on logic. Not everyone uses this word in this context.
When it comes to welt. Not everything follows because they believe it. When it comes to
knowing oneself, can one not be mistaken or diluted? There are issues of self-deception,
the subconscious also plays a role.
-He is in this difficult position. He also gets deeper. He adds to what he says about
knowledge. He says a view of life is not objective knowledge but rather it is subjective
conviction. Here is the problem, conviction is a state of mind. You can have conviction
on anything, conviction only says something about the mental state of the person, it tells
nothing about the world. As Nietzsche would say, conviction are greater enemies of truths
than lies. A view of life which is based on convictions is basically useless. Objective
information matters, unless you want to live in a world which is la la land and based on
purely subjectivity.
-he says he wants a life of meaning, which is something that we all want. We should add,
that we do not want self-delusion. He seems to be giving us a recipe for self-delusion
-knowledge is the answer that things give answers to the things we ask. There is an
emphasis on subjectivity.
-he then shifts to the issue of happiness. He notes that we all want happiness and that life
requires it. Happiness and life are so much in one and the same thing.
-think of a marriage, you get the same dilemma in a marriage. People get married to be
happy. People want a happy life and there is nothing wrong with that. However but lets
say the partner is cheating on you, some will not want to know so they can remain happy.
Think of jury duty. There would be a problem if they were to base their judgement on
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