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

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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    I said it is possible to override instinct, but pretty rare when compared to instinct over riding reason.

    I think our instincts can evolve, but I'm not sure if they have or haven't, I don't think there's anyway to tell what our instincts used to be like.
    Hmm..sadly, as I was writing that last paragraph, I was feeling the sketchy ground I'm standing on.

    Doesn't mean I've changed my mind. I'll have to find a different approach though.
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    (Original post by Hypnotic_Me)
    Hmm..sadly, as I was writing that last paragraph, I was feeling the sketchy ground I'm standing on.

    Doesn't mean I've changed my mind. I'll have to find a different approach though.
    I think you'll find we're both on sketchy ground

    as is often the way with philosophy/debates/philosophy debates.
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    (Original post by omgosh)
    I haven't read any of the previous replies (because i've got an english essay due tommorow), so like i'm sorry if i say something someone has already said or that has been refuted.

    A human is no more peculiar than a hydrogen molecule. More rare yes, but any different? No. We are the result of natural forces and laws, there is no evidence for anything 'spirtual' of the sort. The idea of meaning or a point of life is a human construct, it is a meaningless question. It would be akin to asking what the point of one particular photon was. It has no point, it was emmitted by an atom somewhere and will soon be absorbed by some mass. There was no need for that to happen, it didn't happen to some plan, it was just the consequence of natural laws. In the same way we are.

    There comes a time when you've just got to grow up, stop creating fantasies which you find comforting and face all the hardships of reality head on. If that leads you to suicide then so be it.
    rofl, you've got a long way to go, a long way...
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    (Original post by omgosh)
    I haven't read any of the previous replies (because i've got an english essay due tommorow), so like i'm sorry if i say something someone has already said or that has been refuted.

    A human is no more peculiar than a hydrogen molecule. More rare yes, but any different? No. We are the result of natural forces and laws, there is no evidence for anything 'spirtual' of the sort. The idea of meaning or a point of life is a human construct, it is a meaningless question. It would be akin to asking what the point of one particular photon was. It has no point, it was emmitted by an atom somewhere and will soon be absorbed by some mass. There was no need for that to happen, it didn't happen to some plan, it was just the consequence of natural laws. In the same way we are.

    There comes a time when you've just got to grow up, stop creating fantasies which you find comforting and face all the hardships of reality head on. If that leads you to suicide then so be it.

    I think this view is just as blind as one who assumes there absolutely must be a purpose to life. Don't get me wrong I can certainly see your point of view, but asserting that this is the way > end of discussion < seems to be very presumptuous.
    Esspecially implying that people who do think that there is a purpose to be immature, I would certainly go as far to say many a philosophical thinker has thought long and hard about the question of purpose, and the very fact that this question has been asked for such a long time to no avail to me suggests the answer isn't as simple as you would like it to be.

    My personal opinion on this is:
    because there is no evidence for an intelligent influence we should for now presume there is no purpose, but not to rule it out completely. Coming to a definitive answer on a question when you don't have all the premises seems in itself to be immature because you fabricate something that expresses your own personal wishes and conveys nothing of objective fact.

    In reality no one can say I KNOW there is/isn't a purpose for us.

    We could speculate that, in our current position we lack the capacity to understand what our meaning or purpose would be, or the means with which to find our purpose, but that shouldn't even suggest that there is not one waiting for us.
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    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    Erm, okay. In naive set theory, anything can be a set, and we have an intuitive concept of "the set consisting of precisely the sets that don't contain themselves". The problem is when answering "does this set contain itself?" - it leads to a contradiction either way.

    Similarly, we have your naive conceptualization of reason, which is basically any argument in terms of language (with similar basic logical axioms to naive set theory, such as the law of non-contradiction). As you may suspect, this naivety leads easily to paradoxes. "This sentence is not true." (Since, naively, you do not define what "true" is.)
    Can you elaborate on the bit in bold? That's a rather large assertion.

    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    The paradoxes above have one thing in common: the sentences are self-referential. They're paradoxical because they make a statement about themselves, so to speak, such that once they have made that statement, the entire sentence can no longer be true. This suggests that getting rid of the self-reference, in one form or another, gets rid of the paradoxes. That's what I have done in one way or another.
    The irony of this is that, in showing reason to be untrustworthy, you've used reason.

    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    And reason being false, as you keep pointing out, leads to some sort of paradox.
    And what do you recommend? Aritrary Philosophy? You haven't denied that disproving reason is a paradox, so according to your proposal, we've got a guaranteed paradox either way.


    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    I would think that reason is one of the easiest things to be skeptical about. In our experiences, we have all come up across some dumbass who thinks they understand reason, but in reality are constantly talking ********. (In fact, we may have one in the religion forum right now.) It's very easy to conceptualize that perhaps we're secretly like this and don't realize it; after all, these people already exist, by our standards. Much easier if you consider Descartes' demon trying to fool us into believing all this.
    I agree with you, but there's a difference between realising the limitations and potential pitfalls of reason and totally rejecting it. Moreover, from an epistemological perspective, as I've been banging on about repeatedly, denying reason leads to a contradiction in any case, so me trusting it doesn't seem so . . . irrational.

    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    I could actually make a case that they're indistinguishable, but I'm lazy, so I'm just going to say that in principle it doesn't matter; people might adopt her axiom without any emotion.
    Language would be inadequate in such a proof, so I wouldn't expect much success.


    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    I've repeatedly pointed out that, without firm foundations, all talk is meaningless, merely words that sounds good to the intuition.
    True.

    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    Because intuition varies, the talk leads no where.
    Not necessarily - I can converse in the hope that I'll trigger the same rational processes I have in the other person's mind.

    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    My other major problem with this is your "moving of the goal posts", so to speak; when you have no firm conceptualization of "truth", you can simply demand a higher standard of evidence for it, again and again and again. This is what you've been doing in all your posts about nihilism.
    I don't think so; I've merely been defining my words down to their first and most basic principles to stop you from contesting that I'm talking in undefined language. We started out with a concept of "ought" and I managed to reduce your skepticism (I think) down to the definition of a concept of "truth". I then conceded that rational truth was something you either know or you don't, and you can't really define it properly, but that that was fine because I thought rejecting reason was paradoxical. And now we're on this issue of reason.


    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    I will take the presumption that these are not well-defined; that they are just meaningless words that sound good to our intuition, but underneath which no structure is possible, and indeed no common ground in conversation is possible.
    That's more nihilistic than nihilism. I don't think there's grounds for that. In fact, I can assure you that your input has clicked various things with me, so we must have similar processes on some level.

    Fundamentally, I think all that there is in dispute is 1) the reliability of reason and 2) whether our concepts of reason are similar. The first is obviously crucial to any kind of thought, the second merely about whether we should retreat into sollipsistic Cartesianism or whether we can actually communicate meaningfully.
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    (Original post by shamrock92)
    Can you elaborate on the bit in bold? That's a rather large assertion.
    Any form of "reasoning", as we understand it, accepts certain axioms, such as the law of non-contradiction (you can't have P and not P). Actually, I can't think of any others, so that may be the only one that's common to all forms of reasoning.

    (Original post by shamrock92)
    The irony of this is that, in showing reason to be untrustworthy, you've used reason.
    No I didn't. I used reason1.

    (Original post by shamrock92)
    I agree with you, but there's a difference between realising the limitations and potential pitfalls of reason and totally rejecting it.
    Your desire to try to salvage reason greatly contrasts against your sheer rejection of morality. You could just as easily have said "I realize the limitations and potential pitfalls - there might not be an objective morality, for instance - but there is a difference between this and totally rejecting morality".

    (Original post by shamrock92)
    Moreover, from an epistemological perspective, as I've been banging on about repeatedly, denying reason leads to a contradiction in any case, so me trusting it doesn't seem so . . . irrational.
    No, it doesn't. It may be that we're simply too stupid to realize how to deny reason without a contradiction (or being fooled by Descartes' demon). Although, this is doubtful, because there are very simple ways to deny reason without a contradiction, one of them at the end of my last post.

    (Original post by shamrock92)
    Not necessarily - I can converse in the hope that I'll trigger the same rational processes I have in the other person's mind.
    You mean, turn their intuition into the same thing as yours'? Sure, but personally, I find this not worth my time.

    (Original post by shamrock92)
    I don't think so; I've merely been defining my words down to their first and most basic principles to stop you from contesting that I'm talking in undefined language. We started out with a concept of "ought" and I managed to reduce your skepticism (I think) down to the definition of a concept of "truth". I then conceded that rational truth was something you either know or you don't, and you can't really define it properly, but that that was fine because I thought rejecting reason was paradoxical. And now we're on this issue of reason.
    Actually, I was referring not to this discussion (in which you've been more than obliging, thank you), but to your earlier discussions with Darkened and others about why moral nihilism is best.

    (Original post by shamrock92)
    That's more nihilistic than nihilism.
    Ha ha.

    (Original post by shamrock92)
    your input has clicked various things with me, so we must have similar processes on some level.
    Obviously, some things usually "click" between people. If it is the case that two peoples' intuition agrees (or mostly agrees) on a term, I actually don't have a personal problem with using the term, even if it is ill-defined. Take "exists", for instance. I doubt there is any concrete way in which to define it, but two peoples' intuitions on whether or not something "exists" basically coincide. Even "true" might be acceptable in some circumstances. I have no surprise that you share similar conceptualizations of "reason".

    But when intuition does vary, then you no longer have common ground with which to discuss anything. The intuition on moral truths does vary, extremely widely. That's why having "it is true" as a criterion is very dangerous.
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    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    Any form of "reasoning", as we understand it, accepts certain axioms, such as the law of non-contradiction (you can't have P and not P). Actually, I can't think of any others, so that may be the only one that's common to all forms of reasoning.
    And how does that lead to the assertion that self-reference is paradoxical?


    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    No I didn't. I used reason1.
    It's still self-undermining. In any case, we don't have the different types of reason well-defined enough yet to know when we're using them.


    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    Your desire to try to salvage reason greatly contrasts against your sheer rejection of morality. You could just as easily have said "I realize the limitations and potential pitfalls - there might not be an objective morality, for instance - but there is a difference between this and totally rejecting morality".
    Why is that a valid comparison? Morality is simply without justification. Therefore, I reject it - it's just a floaty concept. We're still trying to discover whether reason is defendable or not, and I'm quite happy that it is.

    I'm not just being arbitrarily skeptical about X and not about Y, merely for the pretension of defending a position for the sake of it. I'm merely going with what seems correct.


    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    No, it doesn't. It may be that we're simply too stupid to realize how to deny reason without a contradiction (or being fooled by Descartes' demon). Although, this is doubtful, because there are very simple ways to deny reason without a contradiction, one of them at the end of my last post.
    That still entails an apparent contradiction - you've employed reason to reach that conclusion. Even if we just haven't worked out how to circumvent reason yet and it is still possible, we still have no alternative.


    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    You mean, turn their intuition into the same thing as yours'? Sure, but personally, I find this not worth my time.
    Then why bother talking to anyone at all, other than to boss them around? You're trying to do just that in this discussion.


    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    Actually, I was referring not to this discussion (in which you've been more than obliging, thank you), but to your earlier discussions with Darkened and others about why moral nihilism is best.
    But 'twas that discussion which engendered this one.


    (Original post by The Bachelor)
    Obviously, some things usually "click" between people. If it is the case that two peoples' intuition agrees (or mostly agrees) on a term, I actually don't have a personal problem with using the term, even if it is ill-defined. Take "exists", for instance. I doubt there is any concrete way in which to define it, but two peoples' intuitions on whether or not something "exists" basically coincide. Even "true" might be acceptable in some circumstances. I have no surprise that you share similar conceptualizations of "reason".

    But when intuition does vary, then you no longer have common ground with which to discuss anything. The intuition on moral truths does vary, extremely widely. That's why having "it is true" as a criterion is very dangerous.
    I disagree - presuming that my concept of intuition is workable and that it has features in common with other people's seems fine. Nay, there's no alternative. In fact, one could even give a sollipsistic justification for engaging in dialogue with others, even when there's uncertainty over whether your intuitions are similar - if their input, however divorced from your own system of reasoning and intuition that system wherefrom it's derived may be, is productive, then it's worth paying attention to.
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    *skips thread*

    The point in life is simply to exist, to exist and continue your species so that the next generation can do exactly the same. It's the sole principal in nature, some species entire life revolves solely around breeding another generation. We are just like any other species except we have developed the mental capacity for more emotions and the ability/need to try and come up with something in life that's greater than ourselves in a desire to justify our existance. Trying to come up with anything beyond that is pointless. So basically make the most of your greater emotional capacity and have fun.
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    Bit of a loaded question - perhaps start with "Is there a point to life" and go from there.
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    (Original post by DaveParlour)
    *skips thread*

    The point in life is simply to exist, to exist and continue your species so that the next generation can do exactly the same. It's the sole principal in nature, some species entire life revolves solely around breeding another generation. We are just like any other species except we have developed the mental capacity for more emotions and the ability/need to try and come up with something in life that's greater than ourselves in a desire to justify our existance. Trying to come up with anything beyond that is pointless. So basically make the most of your greater emotional capacity and have fun.
    But it is somewhat cyclical logic to say the point in life is to exist. i.e. why must we exist if there is no intrinsic purpose in our existance?
    I think with atheism the only logical conclusion is there is no reason for our existance, there is no absolute morality and we are all just an anomaly, merely insignificant specks of dust inside an empty not necessarily unique universe. However this conclusion isn't very practical.
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    (Original post by Dadeyemi)
    But it is somewhat cyclical logic to say the point in life is to exist. i.e. why must we exist if there is no intrinsic purpose in our existance?
    I think with atheism the only logical conclusion is there is no reason for our existance, there is no absolute morality and we are all just an anomaly, merely insignificant specks of dust inside an empty not necessarily unique universe. However this conclusion isn't very practical.
    You have three choices-
    -Spend life living it
    -Spend life moping that there is no point to it
    -Commit suicide

    I know which I'd rather do. The same with most of the species, and simply due to this fact 'morality' becomes a convenience in order to live in an functional society. Even if you don't have 'morality' you still have the law which is there to keep a functional society (in most cases anyway).
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    to the OP, why, if we believe in a god, should 'reaching heaven' in its supposed form be the be all and end all of life? for me, there is no point to life. and yeah that is a depressing thought. I believe we are all here by coincidence, and so we should make the most of life while we can.
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    (Original post by The Joker)
    rofl, you've got a long way to go, a long way...
    Right, a long way to go until I realise that there is some transcendence governing our lives and that I should 'accept' the truth of God or the soul or some other made up fairy tales. I only go by what I can know, and i grant you this: I BELIEVE that no man in history has had a claim to knowledge greater than me. I believe that noone has known anything I could not know. And with that I deduce that all ideas of God or the soul are entirely fictitious. All your philosophical notions of meaning are still only human constructs because there is no inherent meaning to the combination of molecules which have arranged themselves thus because it allows for a higher probability of replication.
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    Ok, I've skipped through this thread, reading every now and again (and this is also my first post ), and also my first philosophical debate too.

    For me, the point of life is whatever you make of it. By a series of freak occurrences we're lucky enough, as humans, to be alive and on this planet. Granted this rather unique and once in a life time experience I feel you should enjoy it as best you can. I live by the principle that i only do things I enjoy/want to do in order to make the most out of life. I also believe, as a member of the human race, that we have a responsibility to further our civilization in whatever way we can, and that the collection of knowledge and the making of art are both incredibly important. If we aim in our lives to make something that stands the test of time, then our ideas stand on past our death.

    Life has no inherent meaning or direction, it is simply a blank canvas on which you should work your magic. Be it by sleeping around, playing x-box all day, redefining our idea of biology, discovering the higgs bosun, inventing the quantum computer, painting a masterpiece or writing books. You make what you will of life, and live it with. It's the only chance you'll get
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    (Original post by omgosh)
    Right, a long way to go until I realise that there is some transcendence governing our lives and that I should 'accept' the truth of God or the soul or some other made up fairy tales. I only go by what I can know, and i grant you this: I BELIEVE that no man in history has had a claim to knowledge greater than me. I believe that noone has known anything I could not know. And with that I deduce that all ideas of God or the soul are entirely fictitious. All your philosophical notions of meaning are still only human constructs because there is no inherent meaning to the combination of molecules which have arranged themselves thus because it allows for a higher probability of replication.
    Many men in the history have known more than you know, as I said you have some way to go. All religions are fictions indeed but doesn't mean there is more to reality than you think.
    We do not "come into" this world: we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves", the Universe "peoples". Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of Nature, a unique action of the total Universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated "egos" inside bags of skin.

    No matter how great the human success or crisis or joy or confusion, it is not bigger than the cosmic context. No human drama has a more powerful vibration than the earth. The greatest and most charismatic mortal on earth cannot compete with a mountain or an ocean, let alone a planet or star.

    To reclaim some kind of sanity and truthful awareness, you have no choice but to make a clear and distinct commitment to remember the wider context in which you actually live.
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    Forgive me (or don't because I am equally unimportant- but either way its just good manners) Lazzarus because I cannot remember the Philosopher who said it.

    But he said that there IS nothing, and man must face up to this nothingness and find his own meaning. He must accept any consequences of his actions and not blame 'God' or 'Fate' or 'Human Nature'.

    Sounds like you are havng an 'Existentialist Crisis'

    Life has whatever meaning you prescribe it. Which is generally what everyone was saying about living, loving, and being an all round good egg (y)

    I hope this helps. Or gives you something to think about.

    Or to look at it another way, who cares? I will die, you will die and this discussion will be lost in the knitting of time.

    I think I know how you feel.
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    I might be wrong but at a first guess, I'd say either Kant or Sartre said it.
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    (Original post by Darkened Angel)
    You have three choices-
    -Spend life living it
    -Spend life moping that there is no point to it
    -Commit suicide

    I know which I'd rather do. The same with most of the species, and simply due to this fact 'morality' becomes a convenience in order to live in an functional society. Even if you don't have 'morality' you still have the law which is there to keep a functional society (in most cases anyway).

    Or spend your life in denial Oh sweet sweet denial, nothing beats a bit of fundamentalist religion to make you look forward to your bacon and eggs in the morning. What more motivation does one need than the apparent summoning by an omnipotent being?

    Religion looks like a sweet deal at first glance, might consider it myself :P
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    I might be wrong but at a first guess, I'd say either Kant or Sartre said it.
    Sartre that's the one.
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    People say that what we are seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think this is what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive.
 
 
 
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