PHIL 1100 – MEANING OF LIFE
QUESTIONING THE QUESTION
CHAPTER 16 – THE CLAIMS OF PHILOSOPHY – A.J. AYER
How can life in general be said to have any meaning?
Simple answer: all events are tending towards a certain specificable end.
1. No good reason. Whatever to/for supposing the assumption to be true.
2. Even if it was true, it would not do the work that is required of it.
1947 – A.J Ayer
PONTIFFS: Believes science is incomplete and irrational
Those are the two types of Philosophers.
Hegel – has big fantasies, sciences gives support.
Heidegger – Ayer didn’t support science in his work. Because he wrotes in a thick style.
Continental philosophy – has been more evident.
Postmodernism, dominates humanity.
Richard Rorty > rejects knowledge, objectivity.
Objectivity – “unforced agreement”
Ayer is into knowledge. Rejects objectivity when doing history.
Work on special problems or special topics.
You cannot write it is “common sense” in a philosophy.
What do journeymen philosophy doing? Learning more science and integrating with your philosophy.
Philosophy is the love of wisdom.
Not many philosophers will do this kind of philosophy.
The purpose of the two questions cannot be answered. Ayer stood up to Mike Tyson when he raped
someone? The book of dead philosophers.
What’s the purpose of our existence? Gave meaning in life, not meaning of life. Life leads to goals.
All life is evolving to meet those goals. There is no justification of meaning of life.
Theistic evolution – Ayer is an atheist > can’t assume everyone is a theist.
Even if there is a god, behind the universe & evolution of species > universe fulfilling God’s goals – not
You can’t derive the world of view by “God”.
How do you know how god wants us to live?
How do you know your concept is good/bad?
Is it good because god says it / cause God recognizes it?
Do not cry over life because you can’t figure it out. Meaning of life is not the meaning in life.
With human goals, you can’t pick one and determine the meaning of life. People think having a kids ensure
the meaning of life.
CHAPTER 17 – LINGUISTIC PHILOSOPHY AND ‘THE MEANING OF LIFE’ – KAI NIELSEN
Life in general has a purpose if all living beings are tending toward a certain specifiable end.
Charles Taylor powerfully argues, that teleological explanations of human behavior are irreducible, Ayer’s
point her is not all weakened, for in explaining, teleological or otherwise, we are still showing how things
are; we are not justifying anything.
Fact/ Value Distinction
PHIL 1100 – FINAL EXAM REVIEW 1 “What is the purpose of life” vs. “What is the meaning of life”
Philosophy can help us with “ought”
Principle of utility [utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Betham]
Principles of Distributive Justice [E.g John Rawls, veil of ignorance test]
Ought implies can
Limiting question (pseudo) vs. literal questions (real)
“What is really the meaning of life?”
Expressions of anxiety/fear, see a psychiatrist
Decidophobia (Walter Kaufmann)
Today, Alex Rosenberg (2011), The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, pharmaceuticals.
1. The fact – value distinction.
2. What is the purpose of life “versus” what is the meaning of life?
We can’t assure humans are a purpose of life. No facts can give us answers to find the
meaning of life. Agrees with Baier – meaning and cause of life.
Asking for justification for our existence, how should I live my life? (Only have one life)
What makes life worthwhile than the other?
Can’t go from facts to values.
We might disagree what god says about the purpose of life.
Would be legitimate to disagree with a perfect being.
You must bel