What is the point of life? (atheists only please) Watch

shamrock92
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(Original post by there's too much love)
when he sticks the basics he doesn't get tripped up, and do you know what he means by bad faith? it *might*(nice little disclaimer in there) not be what you're thinking.
Bad Faith is self-deception - committing yourself to the role of an object in the world, and pretending that you have certain inescapable duties, when, in fact, you are radically free to do whatever you want.
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The Bachelor
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(Original post by shamrock92)
:hmmm:
It's true. Look at Aquinas' axiom.
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(Original post by The Bachelor)
In the same sense that me detonating a nuclear bomb to destroy the earth is behavior, yes. It's definitely not behavior science has studied (which is what I said in the first place).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene

(Original post by The Bachelor)
Firstly, I don't see what that has to do with the beetle argument.
It has everything to do with it - I don't know what your experience of the functionality of reason is, yet I engage in discussions about reason with you; I do so, therefore, trusting that the unseen beetle you have is the same as mine. To carry the analogy further, you've essentially said, "That's not my beetle!!!!!" repeatedly, and refused to enlighten me as to what yours looks like.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
Secondly, I'm very willing to connect premises. If you were to say, for example:

All waoeigj23oif3 are ;olkmoje3oig.
mmmmmmlkjjoqiw is a waoeigj23oif3.
Therefore, mmmmmmlkjjoqiw is ;olkmoje3oig.

I would completely agree with you. Connecting the premises is not the problem (assuming one has logical axioms). The problem in your claims of "truth", as I see, lies in the acceptance of something as "true" or "untrue". How could we know it's true that all waoeigj23oif3 are ;olkmoje3oig? It neither seems true nor untrue; the truth claim seems meaningless.
But now you're acting as if I've formulated my argument using ill-defined words, thus:

"All waoeigj23oif3 are ;olkmoje3oig.
mmmmmmlkjjoqiw is a waoeigj23oif3.
Therefore, mmmmmmlkjjoqiw is ;olkmoje3oig."


But I haven't - and you accepted that. Your problem was with how I defined "truth". Then, I came back and said that it comes down to you accepting the leaps between the premises because that's the bit of an argument I can't justify, only to say it seems reasonable to assume they connect because instinctive reason tells me so. That's the part you don't seem to be happy with.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
Sorry, but it "cries out" to Darkened Angel that life has meaning. It is practically self-evident to her, and really has nothing to do with emotion. And you are unable to deny this, as you have accepted what "cries out" to someone as "true".
No, it's not self-evident in the slightest. Self-evident implies analytically true. It's not true in virtue of any rational analysis, merely emotion.

She actually admitted it was emotion and instinct that dictated to her the fact that life has meaning.

And I am able to deny it: an emotional argument has no worth, as it has no rational justification (a prerequisite of truth) and cannot be proved right or wrong.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
Secondly, the premises used for reason can generally be doubted. A simple example is Thomas Aquinas' "one cannot have an infinite chain of causes". That axiom "cried out" to him, as it still cries out to many people, including on this forum. But equally (and this is partially thanks to relatively recent mathematical reasoning on infinite sets), people start to wonder "why not? What in principle prevents an infinite chain of causes?"
What's that got to do with anything? In any case, reason doesn't have premises - as I explained above, and as Kant pointed out, reason is transcendental. It doesn't need a justification.

In any case, I don't think an infinite chain of causes is irrational, unless you define causes crudely (but that, in turn, would make the Cosmological argument lame).
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The Bachelor
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(Original post by shamrock92)
It has everything to do with it - I don't know what your experience of the functionality of reason is, yet I engage in discussions about reason with you; I do so, therefore, trusting that the unseen beetle you have is the same as mine. To carry the analogy further, you've essentially said, "That's not my beetle!!!!!" repeatedly, and refused to enlighten me as to what yours looks like.
On the contrary, all I've been doing is asking what your beetle looks like.

(Original post by shamrock92)
But now you're acting as if I've formulated my argument using ill-defined words...But I haven't - and you accepted that. Your problem was with how I defined "truth".
Tell me where I "accepted" that. You seem to admit yourself that "truth" is potentially ill-defined. Simply one ill-defined word is enough to make an entire definition ill-defined.

(Original post by shamrock92)
No, it's not self-evident in the slightest.
Sorry, but by the "I feel it in my heart" criterion, it clearly is true for Darkened Angel.

(Original post by shamrock92)
What's that got to do with anything?
It contradicts what you said above, and also what you said to Darkened Angel.
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(Original post by shamrock92)
if we say "what if reason were actually unreliable?" we're contradicting ourselves, because we've used reason to criticise reason.
Actually, no. If the basic tenants of reason, for example, leads to a contradiction, then we would be able to conclude that reason was unreliable, despite our having used reason to arrive at that contradiction.
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Hypnotic_Me
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(Original post by The Bachelor)
Secondly, the premises used for reason can generally be doubted. A simple example is Thomas Aquinas' "one cannot have an infinite chain of causes". That axiom "cried out" to him, as it still cries out to many people, including on this forum.
You're using this in a poor manner. His premises was Aquinas' A postiori idea that every cause has a cause. His experience was based on his understanding of the world around him, in order to come to such an understanding he would have used the logical tool of reason, emotion doesn't come into it.
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shamrock92
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(Original post by The Bachelor)
On the contrary, all I've been doing is asking what your beetle looks like.
I can't describe it - that's the whole point. I was just trusting that your beetle was like mine. Apparently you don't have a beetle at all.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
Tell me where I "accepted" that. You seem to admit yourself that "truth" is potentially ill-defined. Simply one ill-defined word is enough to make an entire definition ill-defined.
Truth can be defined as a statement such that the statement is rendered true by and sound argument. What I admitted was that the logical leap between premises - which no-one can describe, it's just a feeling we get when things are logical - is a potential pitfall.

You admitted earlier that this was the case - you first said that "ought" was undefined; I said that you "ought" to do an action if there's a valid argument with true premises supporting it; you said, "ok, well valid and true are undefined!"; I defined validity; you said truth was undefined; I just defined truth. There is no room for maneuver, except with the logical leaps like I said.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
Sorry, but by the "I feel it in my heart" criterion, it clearly is true for Darkened Angel.
No, it's not. Truth cannot be found thus.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
It contradicts what you said above, and also what you said to Darkened Angel.
Reason can't be doubted. That's why my truth is better than hers.
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The Bachelor
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(Original post by Hypnotic_Me)
You're using this in a poor manner. His premises was Aquinas' A postiori idea that every cause has a cause. His experience was based on his understanding of the world around him, in order to come to such an understanding he would have used the logical tool of reason, emotion doesn't come into it.
What I said had nothing to do with emotion.
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Hypnotic_Me
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To say 'Reason' is unreliable is in essence a paradox. Because you've used reason to come to that conclusion, so your conclusion is unreliable.

but, you can undermine specific 'Reasoning'.
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The Bachelor
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(Original post by shamrock92)
I can't describe it - that's the whole point. I was just trusting that your beetle was like mine. Apparently you don't have a beetle at all.
Indeed. I contend you don't have a beetle either (at least not in terms of the justification of morality). Any form of reasoning seems to collapse into a type of intuition which cannot be agreed upon between several parties.

(Original post by shamrock92)
Truth can be defined as a statement such that the statement is rendered true by and sound argument.
If you're using the previous definition for sound argument (actually, "valid" argument) then this is circular, as the previous definition included the word "true" inside it.

(Original post by shamrock92)
No, it's not. Truth cannot be found thus.
Way to contradict yourself.

"you know in your heart what reason is, and when an argument is valid, and when premises are true"

(Original post by shamrock92)
Reason can't be doubted. That's why my truth is better than hers.
Didn't you just see my example of doubting reason?
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The Bachelor
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(Original post by Hypnotic_Me)
To say 'Reason' is unreliable is in essence a paradox. Because you've used reason to come to that conclusion, so your conclusion is unreliable.

but, you can undermine specific 'Reasoning'.
To resolve the paradox, "reason" isn't well-defined.

I see a parallel between this and Russel's paradox: does the set of (all sets that don't contain themselves) contain itself? His proposed solution was a theory of types, in which type 1 refers to sentences about individuals, type 2 to sentences of sentences about individuals, etc. And, the individual referred to can only be a member of a lower type. Basically, using reasoning to refer to reason is self-referential and potentially leads to paradoxes; so don't allow self-reference.
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shamrock92
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(Original post by Hypnotic_Me)
To say 'Reason' is unreliable is in essence a paradox. Because you've used reason to come to that conclusion, so your conclusion is unreliable.

but, you can undermine specific 'Reasoning'.
True.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
To resolve the paradox, "reason" isn't well-defined.
True, but we can be almost certain that the definition of the reason you use to undermine reason (call it reason 1) is the same as the definition for reason itself (call it reason 2). Therefore, even though there is a potential difference between reason 1 and reason 2, we can safely assume that they are similar enough to render using reason 1 to subvert reason 2 a paradox.

It's a choice between the circle of using reason (which we can't justify except by reason) and the contradiction of denying it.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
I see a parallel between this and Russel's paradox: does the set of (all sets that don't contain themselves) contain itself? His proposed solution was a theory of types, in which type 1 refers to sentences about individuals, type 2 to sentences of sentences about individuals, etc. And, the individual referred to can only be a member of a lower type. Basically, using reasoning to refer to reason is self-referential and potentially leads to paradoxes; so don't allow self-reference.
:hmmm: Really, really no. There is no parallel to Russel's paradox. I've had enough of you monster-barring set theory into threads. It's really totally irrelevant - I don't know if you're just trying to make yourself look clever, but that just fails epically.

Even if there were a parallel, we're faced with a choice between a certain paradox (denying reason) and a possible paradox (using reason), it's clear which to prefer.

(And if they're both paradoxes then reason is neither true nor false, which means there's no excluded middle, and Constructivism wins :yep: )


(Original post by The Bachelor)
Indeed. I contend you don't have a beetle either (at least not in terms of the justification of morality). Any form of reasoning seems to collapse into a type of intuition which cannot be agreed upon between several parties.
Correct. It requires trust, and assumption of identical beetles.


(Original post by The Bachelor)
If you're using the previous definition for sound argument (actually, "valid" argument) then this is circular, as the previous definition included the word "true" inside it.
Firstly, there's a difference between "sound" and "valid" which you seem to have missed - "valid" means there is no possible way for the premises to be true and the conclusion false, whereas "sound" means the argument is both "valid" and the premises are true.

Secondly, here is my revised (epistemological) definition of "true": a statement is "true" if(f) it cannot be meaningfully doubted or if it can be inferred from a statement/statements which cannot. (Pick a hole in it if you can; I'm not sure it holds. But I'm pretty confident I'll be able to reach a fundamentally watertight definition.


(Original post by The Bachelor)
Way to contradict yourself.

"you know in your heart what reason is, and when an argument is valid, and when premises are true"
You're not listening. Yes, I'm relying on instinctive reason. But that doesn't mean that my instinctive reason is as bad as Darkened Angel's instinctive emotion. As I've already explained, reason is transcendental, whereas emotion isn't. Therefore, a logical step (which requires trust) is a justified assumption.


(Original post by The Bachelor)
Didn't you just see my example of doubting reason?
You never gave an example - you talked about Aquinas' "an infinite regression is illogical", but I don't see that that's an example of reason being faulty. That's merely an example of a man making an assumption based on Occam's razor.
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(Original post by shamrock92)
True, but we can be almost certain that the definition of the reason you use to undermine reason (call it reason 1) is the same as the definition for reason itself (call it reason 2). Therefore, even though there is a potential difference between reason 1 and reason 2, we can safely assume that they are similar enough to render using reason 1 to subvert reason 2 a paradox.

It's a choice between the circle of using reason (which we can't justify except by reason) and the contradiction of denying it.
I'm not really sure what are the "reasons" you're talking about. What I'm suggesting is that the idea of "reason" is not well-defined (at least, not in any sense that can be analyzed using reason). Under this resolution, there is no paradox; reason can't deny itself, because reason can't meaningfully talk about itself.


(Original post by shamrock92)
:hmmm: Really, really no. There is no parallel to Russel's paradox. I've had enough of you monster-barring set theory into threads. It's really totally irrelevant - I don't know if you're just trying to make yourself look clever, but that just fails epically.

Even if there were a parallel, we're faced with a choice between a certain paradox (denying reason) and a possible paradox (using reason), it's clear which to prefer.

(And if they're both paradoxes then reason is neither true nor false, which means there's no excluded middle, and Constructivism wins :yep: )
I'm not really sure what you're rambling about, but it makes quite a lot of sense.

By your claims, reason can't discover that it itself is flawed. If we accept that for a moment, and look at the situation of the assumptions of reason managing to come up to a contradiction, as above, then there is another type of reason, reason1, that can realize that reason is flawed. Reason1 is simply reason in addition to the sentence "since reason comes up to a contradiction, it is flawed". However, reason1 also leads to a contradiction, since it is a superset of reason. Once again, reason1 cannot state that reason1 is flawed, but a similarly defined reason2 can state reason1 is flawed. Similarly, reason3 states reason2 is flawed, etc. This is quite a parallel to Russel's theory of types.

(Original post by shamrock92)
Correct. It requires trust, and assumption of identical beetles.
Trust: what on earth? But more to the point, therein lies your problem. Your intuitive approach daily yields people whose intuitions disagree with you. Darkened Angel is just one example.

(Original post by shamrock92)
Secondly, here is my revised (epistemological) definition of "true": a statement is "true" if(f) it cannot be meaningfully doubted or if it can be inferred from a statement/statements which cannot.
The obvious problem is: what is "meaningful"? I'm pretty sure you're using a quite different definition from mine; anything that is not simply a good sounding word with no underlying structure, I am willing to take to be meaningful.

(Original post by shamrock92)
You're not listening. Yes, I'm relying on instinctive reason. But that doesn't mean that my instinctive reason is as bad as Darkened Angel's instinctive emotion. As I've already explained, reason is transcendental, whereas emotion isn't. Therefore, a logical step (which requires trust) is a justified assumption.
And I contend that emotion is irrelevant to the example of Darkened Angel. That intuitive axiom requires no emotion to be arrived at.

(Original post by shamrock92)
You never gave an example - you talked about Aquinas' "an infinite regression is illogical", but I don't see that that's an example of reason being faulty. That's merely an example of a man making an assumption based on Occam's razor.
Someone managed an argument made from reason, and derived from your so called "heart", and yet centuries later, it is dismantled and almost not taken seriously.

Similar examples can be found with the Greeks. Among things they reasoned: Achilles will never catch the turtle, a flying arrow is not in motion.
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shamrock92
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(Original post by The Bachelor)
I'm not really sure what are the "reasons" you're talking about. What I'm suggesting is that the idea of "reason" is not well-defined (at least, not in any sense that can be analyzed using reason). Under this resolution, there is no paradox; reason can't deny itself, because reason can't meaningfully talk about itself.
Why not?

In any case, it's not really a case of reason "denying itself" that yields the contradiction; it's the assumption of reason as a prerequisite for Philosophising and then denying it therein.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
I'm not really sure what you're rambling about, but it makes quite a lot of sense.

By your claims, reason can't discover that it itself is flawed. If we accept that for a moment, and look at the situation of the assumptions of reason managing to come up to a contradiction, as above, then there is another type of reason, reason1, that can realize that reason is flawed. Reason1 is simply reason in addition to the sentence "since reason comes up to a contradiction, it is flawed". However, reason1 also leads to a contradiction, since it is a superset of reason. Once again, reason1 cannot state that reason1 is flawed, but a similarly defined reason2 can state reason1 is flawed. Similarly, reason3 states reason2 is flawed, etc. This is quite a parallel to Russel's theory of types, but in reverse.
1. Reason doesn't have assumptions - its reliability comes from its freedom from doubt and not from some argument.

2. There isn't necessarily another type of reason that discovers the flaw in the first type of reason. It could just have an inherent contradiction, liar paradox-esque.


(Original post by The Bachelor)
Trust: what on earth? But more to the point, therein lies your problem. Your intuitive approach daily yields people whose intuitions disagree with you. Darkened Angel is just one example.
No, no, no! I've already told you: there's a difference between logical intuitions and emotional intuitions. Don't compare her intuitions to mine. As I've already stated over and over, reason is transcendental whereas emotion is not.

I can accept that I am helpless to someone else's inability to make the logical leaps that I make, and they are helpless to my suchlike inadequacies. As I said earlier, the root of this dispute comes down to that - you don't seem to want to accept it.


(Original post by The Bachelor)
The obvious problem is: what is "meaningful"? I'm pretty sure you're using a quite different definition from mine; anything that has a definition which seems well-defined, I'm willing to take to be meaningful.
"Meaningful" doubt is doubt which does not presume that that which it tries to disprove is true for its operation. That is, meaningful doubt doesn't contradict itself by the doubting process.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
And I contend that emotion is irrelevant to the example of Darkened Angel. That intuitive axiom requires no emotion to be arrived at.
It's not an intuitive axiom in the same way mine are. Stop comparing them! Firstly, Darkened Angel admitted that the instinct she had for life being meaningful was an emotional impulse and not a logical intuition. Secondly, there's a difference between having a logical instinct for a leap between two statements being ok and having a feeling a particular statement is correct.


(Original post by The Bachelor)
Someone managed an argument made from reason, and derived from your so called "heart", and yet centuries later, it is dismantled and almost not taken seriously.

Similar examples can be found with the Greeks. Among things they reasoned: Achilles will never catch the turtle, a flying arrow is not in motion.
The premises of the arguments were false. This doesn't tell me anything, except that it's possible that my logical leaps between premises might not be correct. That's true, but as I said earlier, I have no choice but to accept what reason tells me lest I contradict myself.
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The Bachelor
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(Original post by shamrock92)
Why not?

In any case, it's not really a case of reason "denying itself" that yields the contradiction; it's the assumption of reason as a prerequisite for Philosophising and then denying it therein.
The paradox comes from the idea that reason is "everything", that anything which can be derived must be a form of reason, so to speak. But our language is unrestricted; if reason really is everything, it allows for self-referential behavior in a way that leads to paradoxes. This is the same problem as with naive set theory and Russel's paradoxes.

(Original post by shamrock92)
2. There isn't necessarily another type of reason that discovers the flaw in the first type of reason. It could just have an inherent contradiction, liar paradox-esque.
A contradiction doesn't tell you that reason is flawed, which is what you seemed to want. If you're satisfied with a contradiction, then other types of reason probably aren't necessary.

(Original post by shamrock92)
No, no, no! I've already told you: there's a difference between logical intuitions and emotional intuitions. Don't compare her intuitions to mine. As I've already stated over and over, reason is transcendental whereas emotion is not.
And, as I keep saying, this is irrelevant.

(Original post by shamrock92)
I can accept that I am helpless to someone else's inability to make the logical leaps that I make, and they are helpless to my suchlike inadequacies. As I said earlier, the root of this dispute comes down to that - you don't seem to want to accept it.
What do you mean I don't want to accept this? I'm repeatedly pointing it out.

(Original post by shamrock92)
"Meaningful" doubt is doubt which does not presume that that which it tries to disprove is true for its operation. That is, meaningful doubt doesn't contradict itself by the doubting process.
The first potential problem is obviously the circularity of the definition. The second potential problem is that intense skepticism is capable of avoiding almost any sort of contradiction (unless what a contradiction is, is well-defined, as I sort of doubt it is here). As a very simple example, given absolutely any sentence: "I doubt this sentence is true, because something may be deluding me to such an extent I cannot understand it". That kind of doubt even works against Cognito Ergo Sum (although a better way to phrase that would be: my faculties may actually be illusory, rather than actually existing, in such a way I am unable to comprehend).

The fundamental problem above, of course, is that potentially nothing is true (i.e. nothing cannot be meaningfully doubted; and that includes the statement "nothing is true" ).
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shamrock92
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(Original post by The Bachelor)
The paradox comes from the idea that reason is "everything", that anything which can be derived must be a form of reason, so to speak. But our language is unrestricted; if reason really is everything, it allows for self-referential behavior in a way that leads to paradoxes. This is the same problem as with naive set theory and Russel's paradoxes.
Enlighten me, then.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
A contradiction doesn't tell you that reason is flawed, which is what you seemed to want. If you're satisfied with a contradiction, then other types of reason probably aren't necessary.
What? If you assume X and X leads to a contradiction, then X is false.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
And, as I keep saying, this is irrelevant.
Well you're the one that raised the issue by saying that my logical intuition was as dodgy as Darkened Angel's capricious instinct.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
What do you mean I don't want to accept this? I'm repeatedly pointing it out.
Were you? I don't think you were; you were focusing on comparing me to Darkened Angel and talking about how reason was inadequate.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
The first potential problem is obviously the circularity of the definition.
Circle or paradox? Your choice.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
The second potential problem is that intense skepticism is capable of avoiding almost any sort of contradiction (unless what a contradiction is, is well-defined, as I sort of doubt it is here). As a very simple example, given absolutely any sentence: "I doubt this sentence is true, because something may be deluding me to such an extent I cannot understand it". That kind of doubt even works against Cognito Ergo Sum (although a better way to phrase that would be: my faculties may actually be illusory, rather than actually existing, in such a way I am unable to comprehend).
I agree with this, except I don't think it works with reason - even the most intense form of skepticism uses reason to create its formulations (such as the anti-Cartesian one above). Thus, reason can't be skepticised without using reason, which is a paradox. Therefore, reason is valid.

(Original post by The Bachelor)
The fundamental problem above, of course, is that potentially nothing is true (i.e. nothing cannot be meaningfully doubted; and that includes the statement "nothing is true" ).
I disagree - as above, reason survives the onslaught.
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Darkened Angel
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(Original post by shamrock92)
I agree - there are some things which reason can't evaluate, but only instinct can. Hume is a good one for this.

But, getting back on topic, we were talking about an a priori issue - morality. "I feel that way!" isn't a valid argument.
Why do you feel life is so worthless? Why did you feel it had a worth when you were a theist?
:hmmm:
It's true though, otherwise it wouldn't vary.
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(Original post by shamrock92)
It's not an intuitive axiom in the same way mine are. Stop comparing them! Firstly, Darkened Angel admitted that the instinct she had for life being meaningful was an emotional impulse and not a logical intuition. Secondly, there's a difference between having a logical instinct for a leap between two statements being ok and having a feeling a particular statement is correct.
(Original post by shamrock92)
I agree - there are some things which reason can't evaluate, but only instinct can. Hume is a good one for this.
There you go.

I don't see why it isn't a justification. My life has a meaning just like many other lives. You feeling otherwise does not change that.

All you're doing shamrock is asking why for every explanation/justification given to you. You can ask 'why' forever if you want, you'll never recieve an answer that'll end this questioning streak.
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(Original post by Darkened Angel)
There you go.

I don't see why it isn't a justification. My life has a meaning just like many other lives. You feeling otherwise does not change that.

All you're doing shamrock is asking why for every explanation/justification given to you. You can ask 'why' forever if you want, you'll never recieve an answer that'll end this questioning streak.

I have to say, when it comes to trusting an 'emotional impulse' for an answer regarding life having meaning, seems to me to be very unreliable. Emotions change daily and are subject to the environment.

Reason can compile objective facts to construct a sustained argument one way or the other. This, if reasoned well, could be a timeless and universal package of evidence that can be appreciated by all. (even if not agreed with)

Emotions, though a convinsing source information for the individual(s) who feel such emotion, is too subjective. If that's enough for you, then that's fine by me.

As for me, I'm going to need a little more before I can believe there is any meaning to life beyond my own ambitions.
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(Original post by The Bachelor)
Sorry, but it "cries out" to Darkened Angel that life has meaning. It is practically self-evident to her, and really has nothing to do with emotion. And you are unable to deny this, as you have accepted what "cries out" to someone as "true".
You misunderstood, shamrock is right to an extent although he has forgotten that I mentioned it is instinctual to want to survive which is the rational response. Emotion does play a large factor however and shamrock has admitted that in certain circumstances it can play a part where rational thought does not. However even without emotion we have our natural survival instinct.

You haven't comitted suicide shamrock so obviously your life has some sort of meaning. Why are you still living? Do you want to live? Why? Do you want to live a happy life or spend it in a life of sorrow? Why? Do you want others to leave you in peace or to ass-rape you everyday? Why?
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