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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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Bill,

Thanks for another clear and engaging post. So far, you have shown why the idea of a completely subjective meaning of human life is unacceptable. You’ve also addressed the nature of an objective meaning, and made some crucial points: that an objectively meaningful human life must be worthy of a human being; that it cannot be a vacuous and general meta-purpose; that it must be subjectively appropriable; that it must contribute to human flourishing; and that the world-whole must be such that no rational being is excluded from partaking in the meaning. I agree with these points.

To be authentic, the meaning must be available to all, though forced upon no one. On this account, we can, by virtue of free will, choose to participate in the meaning or not. Our flourishing would come through participation, although perhaps this is not evident to all.

You ended your post by addressing the topic from the theistic perspective. I’d like to suggest an outline of an argument for God as the grounding and bestowing agent for the objective meaning of human life. In an effort to be clear, I’ll try to post the outline in a separate note.

Hi Elliot,

Thank you for the above comment and the one on the other post. I am glad you agree with my main points so far. But I am setting you up for a fall. In my next installment I will question whether there is an existential meaning that is both nonsubjective and subjectively appropriable by all.

Bill, I appreciate your gracious words. You noted elsewhere that you might be moving toward aporia. But given the value of the subject, I’m glad to weigh in. This reminds me of Russell’s point in the final chapter of The Problems of Philosophy: although we may not reach certainty on the tough questions, to contemplate them is to enrich the mind. Looking forward to the next post.

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