Originally Posted by tore
I'm a slightly intoxicated, so forgive me if I'm not quite my usual polite self, but ..
In my last post, I wrote "meaning" with apostrophes. The reason is our existence is a consequence brought about by a cause. That's all it requires - we don't need a meaning to exist and personal goals aside, there is none. The closest we can get to real universal meaning is procreation. At least it's something all our ancestors did, much the causal reason we're here and something we have adapted to doing.
You've stumbled upon the meaning of life and now you want to tell us about it. The reason I want to oppose you is not just that I feel what you write is wrong, I think it's pretentious and ignorant. It's oh so appearant that you don't really understand the scientific theory and reasoning you oppose. You write about survival tips for example which is pretty inaccurate. You write about how could we even debate this if language was only for survival?
By writing these things, you only showcase your lack of understanding. One of the basic lessons in evolutionary biology is that it's not about the survival of the individual. It's about the perpetuation of genes. When you understand evolution, it becomes clear that it's an ongoing process of cause and consequence that over time gives rise to a progressively higher organisation and more advanced forms of not just molecules like DNA and proteins, but behaviour and even culture.
It's not an easy subject and it can't be summarized in a forum post as there are countless books out there about it, but really - it's something you should look more into. You may think science is bogus, but it does give a feasible answer to many ultimate questions. You know philosophy so you probably know about proximate and ultimate causality. Proximate means closest to. For example; why do you have five fingers on your hands? Because when you were at the early fetal development stage, cells configured themselves so that you ended up with five fingers. That's a proximate answer. It answers the question, but on the other hand it doesn't - not really. Why do you have five fingers on your hands? Because at some point many tens of millions of years ago, there were different amount of digits out there but your ancestors through evolution ended up with 5 and it was a good strategy and they had sex and so did their descendants and you have inherited it from them. That's an ultimate answer. Why are we on this planet? My answer was an ultimate one. Yours was a vague attempt at a proximate one.
The reason you are confused I'm guessing is because foundations of your beliefs and thoughts are rather shaky - for example they are probably based much more on proximates than ultimates. However, you can't understand one without understanding the other. In other words, the things you believe lack a proper foundation. I find it slightly irritating (ignorant) when people think you can understand human psychology, our goals and the meaning of our existence when they don't even have the faintest idea where we came from in the first place.
In one and the same thread, you manage to write that you discovered the meaning of life and then you lost it again. The only clear thing I can gain from that is that you're confused more than anything.
oh not at all, i love science and i love that our memes are locked in this delightful struggle for supremacy. i came to the road i'm on through science, through biology and chemistry and ultimately quantum mechanics and general relativity, and I can appreciate the approach that by describing phenomena and their relations to one another we can understand the universe and how things "came to be," so to speak. but, as a philosopher, i also believe that this way of approaching phenomena necessarily stumbles up against its own limits--the basic problem of quantum mechanics (the measurement problem) which is, how do we know what something is if we affect it by measuring it? and the chicken-and-the-egg problem, which is the basic problem of causality, if everything has a prior cause, what is the first cause? or is the universe a closed loop, and if so, how does it sustain itself? then there is also the problem of our systems of describing the world themselves--do they really describe the world, or do they describe our mode of relating to it? these to me are the interesting questions because--even though i see that the universe can be explained by causal physical principles, and that i am just as much determined as anything else around me, and caught up the in the perpetual struggle of energy against itself, i do not believe we have truly explained anything until we have explained these physical laws themselves--where did they come from, what is their nature, and what is my true relation to them--because I experience a strange phenomena that people have called "free will," which, if there is no such thing, for some reason still seems to appear as a phenomenon. so, for me, science hits a dead end when it is called to account for itself--it produces results, for sure! but sometimes we also want to know what they mean...--and that's where i feel philosophy has to come in, by analyzing the concepts themselves. by making concepts analyze themselves.
all of what i'm saying is absolutely the height of pretention. but even worse is science, which claims to be giving an answer by showing the laws that force one situation to turn into another, without ever being able to say what a situation is, what an experience is, what existence is. and of course, the wonderful thing is that science doesn't have to tell us any of these things, the answer is obvious. all the answers that we're really looking for are already right there. the explanation for existence is that there is no explanation for existence, science is only useful insofar as it leads to this realization by being unable to account for itself. an explanation always "explains" something in terms of something else, and then that something else in terms of something else, etc. etc. and something called "structural relations" somehow emerge in the void of this endless procrastination which is just the structure of procrastination, that space is an extension of time and time is an extension of space so that something is always the somethinging of something else and something else is always the somethingelseing of something etc etc etc etc etc