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Wednesday, May 22, 2013


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Do you think taking the short view of things would lead one towards a more hedonistic lifestyle?

If you as a practicing philosopher were to agree with Nagel, that life is absurd and the short view of life's concerns is better, would that make you more inclined to spend the evening sipping whiskey (or whatever takes your fancy for a pleasurable pastime) rather than writing blog posts and reading journals?

It might, but it needn't.

If I agreed with Nagel I would be no more inclined to spend my evenings with whisky than he does. For him and me the satisfactions of doing philosophy trump those of the more crassly hedonistic sort.


Thanks for another meaty post. I agree that premise 4 questionably assumes that nothing is the source of its own meaningfulness. But both premises 3 and 4 seem problematic. Your statement that “the fact that I can wonder about the point of the ultimate context does not show that the ultimate context is without point” seems right to me.

One can wonder and philosophize about the meaning of human life. However, to justify the assertions in 3 and 4, one needs sufficient understanding of ultimate matters. But we lack such understanding, so the assertions are unjustified. The fact that we can view and question from outside doesn’t mean that we can adequately do so. Justification requires more: one would need to view and question from outside with an understanding commensurate with being outside. But human beings cannot do this, at least not in this life. We can take the outside view, but it is nebulous because we are (at least partly) existentially inside. To cite Plato and St. Paul, we see “through a glass darkly.” As such, 3 and 4 seem unjustified.

Is simply viewing from outside enough to justify 3 and 4? Or is more required?

You're welcome., Elliot. Sorry I can't respond to all your comments.

(4) is not a premise but a subconclusion. The premises are (1) and (3).

>>Is simply viewing from outside enough to justify 3 and 4?<<


I think we basically agree.

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