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CCSU PHIL 112 - Final Paper

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Section 1: Introduction “What is the meaning of life?” This has been one of the major questions of philosophy for centuries; from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Although this question seems outdated, in this thesis I am going to be arguing that life has a meaning. My point of view has a few objections, which will be my anti-thesis. I would like to conclude by saying the meaning of life is to give life a meaning.!Section 2: Anti-thesis The traditional view of the meaning of life is happiness. According to the Ancient Greek view which was defended by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle!1. The meaning of life = the point of living!2. The point of living = to live well rather than badly!3. To live well rather than badly = to have a happy life!4. So, the meaning of life = to have a happy life!Each premise here speaks for itself, there is no hidden meaning behind it. Eudaimonia was the Greek word for happiness in English. Happiness is closely related to the feeling of euphoria and that’s not what the Greek word refers to. Eudaimonia actually refers to a flourishing life or a richly blessed life by the gods. “Daimon” refers to divine being. For example, you pray to the gods to bless your parents to have a healthy life, you wish god to bless them with happy moments, and for them to be able to enjoy their lives and have enough money and property that they don’t have to go to an old age home. They can live a respectable and honorable life in society.!The question about meaning of life is not exactly the same as the question about the point of living. The point of living is the way the ancient and medievals raised this issue. The Greeks, Romans and medieval philosophers in the European tradition focused on the second point of living. The Greeks focused on the telos of life, the English word “teleological” derives from telos.!• A telos is a goal, aim, objective!For example, the telos of acorn is to grow into an oak tree.!If you are an archer, your shooting arrows at the target, your telos is the bullseye of the target.!• For living things, the telos is to flourish, that is to live a full, rich life as the sort of living being you are.!• The point of living is discovered by attaining knowledge of what is best overall for each living being.!The greeks agreed that there were both internal and external parts of human flourishing.!1. External goods of a flourishing human life: family, friends, owning property, having money, having a successful career, earning the respect of others, having worthwhile social status, fame !2. Internal goods of the body: health, long life, strength, beauty!3. Internal goods of the soul: the virtues ( prudence, courage, temperance, justice), pleasure !An argument for the meaninglessness of life!1. There is a context in which human life as a whole is utterly insignificant.!2. So, human life as a whole is utterly insignificant .!3. So, each human life is meaningless .!Humans make up a very small part of the galaxy. !Camus’ Argument for the Meaninglessness of life!Plotinus defended a mystical view of reality that emphasized four ideas!1. Transcendence : material reality is an illusion!2. Permanence: space, time, motion, and change are all measures of matter, so they are all unreal!3. Intelligibility: reality is intelligible only by using form, not matter!4. Unity: matter is the principle of individuation, so if matter is unreal, so is the separation of individuals! A mystical view of reality is a view according to which reality is immaterial and ineffable, and can be known only by a non-inferential act of awareness in which the knower and the known are permanently one. ! - If the mystical view of reality is the truth, then life is profoundly meaningful.!Section 3: Problem for anti-thesis People these days think it's all about feeling happy but it is a transient feeling that’ll come and go. These moments will come and go but it is not the only thing in life. According to the Greeks, happiness is not a transient feeling for example pleasure, it is about your life as a whole. Philosophers like Cyrenaics and Epicureans emphasized the role of pleasure in a happy life, Cynics and Stoics emphasized the role of virtue especially wisdom in a happy life. Aristotle emphasized the special value there is in theoretical contemplation. There is a delight or special satisfaction in theoretical contemplation of the truth.!But according to St Thomas Aquinas, an Italian philosopher there are two tell of human life.!1. Living well in this life that is the pagan ideal with the emphasis on virtue, not pleasure.!2. Living well in the next life that is the pagan idea of the contemplative life, but with god as the object of contemplation. !There is a special emphasis on the virtue and service of others as opposed to pleasure. !For example, live a rich, full life but with an emphasis on virtue and service to others as opposed to focus on your own selfish pleasure. The traditional way encourages us to base our live choices on knowledge on what is best. For example, if you want a pet you need to know what you are doing. If you don’t know how to take care of it then don’t adopt one or find someone who give give it enough attention and care. Knowledge is crucial to the meaning of life on the traditional view.!“The Grand scheme of things” is a non-religious version of religious idea. For example, “What is the meaning of my life in relation to heaven/hell?” Is a sensible question. The answer depends on which religion you are asking. But the question “What is the meaning of my life in relation to The Grand Scheme of Things?” Is not easy to understand because it is a complex question fallacy. It simple means asking a question with an illegitimate presupposition. !Another example is asking the question “Have you stopped growing horns?” If you answer yes, that means your horns have stopped growing horns and if you answer no you are still growing horns, neither of those answers are accurate. Nothing can possibly satisfy that answer because it’s presupposition is contradictory. Religious answers fail to give the answer in non-religious terms. And non-religious answers


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