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View Poll Results: Does Life Have a Purpose
Yes. 8 40.00%
No. 12 60.00%
I can't call it. 0 0%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-25-2006, 04:52 AM   #16
Nicato
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoc
You seem to adhere to a mindset that if something can't be observed or quantified, it's irrelevant.
Not quite. I'm only an empiricist insofar as my (liberal) following of Occam's Razor. I think the unfalsifiable is more gratuitous than it is irrelevant, like the first three quarters of an NBA game.

Quote:
But "purpose" is by definition a qualitative concept, so you defeat the "purpose" of your own question with circular reasoning. Asking if life has a purpose requires first accepting that purpose is a possibility, which means accepting that qualitative aspects of our existance are relevant.
Again, not quite. As you correctly pointed out I don't believe that a purpose is possible, but to beg the question would be to assume that I provided an initial specific premise. Instead, I posed the question (and subsequent babble) then answered it (also with babble). Surely you don't think that the simple act of asking a question is intrinsically circular.

But I digress, you're objection comes in response to the answer, not the question, despite your beef: "But "purpose" is by definition a qualitative concept, so you defeat the "purpose" of your own question with circular reasoning." Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that my reasoning is circular, wouldn't the fact that it was in response to the very question which I asked suggest to you, sir, that I might be aware of that?! It's a reductio ad absurdum in its purest kind--a simple "if such then why" scenario--my answer to the problem of purpose. I had hoped for a cohesive argument to the contrary (hence "tentatively"), but I guess you gotta have faith.

Last edited by Nicato; 04-25-2006 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:24 PM   #17
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

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If you take issue with my reasoning, then I'd rather you debate the points rather than trying to read between the lines because I honestly don't know what the fuck you're talking about. There is noting explicitly theistic, let alone theocentric, about proclaiming that we're a cosmic joke (What kind of answer would that be to the question: "Does God Exist"). The point is that purpose is inevident and thus invalid.
The second part of my post was a general appeal to non-believers to share their thoughts, not a response to your own.

What I meant when I said that you were reducing the question to "Does God exist?" was that you were assuming, as littledoc pointed out, that if purpose doesn't come from outside it cannot be valid (and if it comes from outside, I don't see where else it could come from other than God). Suppose I told you that our purpose is reproducing as much as we can before we die, wouldn't that be a feasible inference even though the drives and impulses that determine it are interior? (Yes, their effects can be observed, but then so can those of morality).

I disagree that the question is circular though. It might be, if you adopt the mindset that littledoc singled out or if you deconstruct the question linguistically, but as it stands and on its own, I think it does deserve attention.
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Old 04-25-2006, 04:30 PM   #18
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

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Originally Posted by Avptallarita
The second part of my post was a general appeal to non-believers to share their thoughts, not a response to your own.
In that cased I'd like to second your plea. The more the merrier.

Quote:
What I meant when I said that you were reducing the question to "Does God exist?" was that you were assuming, as littledoc pointed out, that if purpose doesn't come from outside it cannot be valid (and if it comes from outside, I don't see where else it could come from other than God).
If by outside you mean "objective" then yes. I wasn't asking "Does your life have purpose?" That's question which no one can answer but the individual to whom it's posed--subjective. And I wouldn't argue the contrary.

I was asking "Does life have have a purpose?" and went on to illustrate purpose as a predifined ultimate destination, which I gather is what most people think of when they think of purpose. That's a question which, because you're no longer speaking for yourself, demands a degree of objectivity and therefore requires some amount of "outside" evidence to be affairmed positively, because such is the way of objective arguments.

On God: I suppose if I were in a religiously monolithic society, I would see "God" as you frame it. I don't. "God" to me is longer confined to the God of Abraham, rather any sort of supernatural being that ever was "discovered" or ever will be. Because of that, I don't automatically attribute characteristics such as "creator" (with an agenda) when I think of a god.

What I'm saying is that I don't think a lack of purpose proves lack of deities--that would be circular.

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Suppose I told you that our purpose is reproducing as much as we can before we die...
That would be imediate. I'm speaking in terms of an ultimate.
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Old 04-25-2006, 04:52 PM   #19
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicato
I was asking "Does life have have a purpose?" and went on to illustrate purpose as a predifined ultimate destination, which I gather is what most people think of when they think of purpose.
I don't have the time to answer to the rest of your post right now, but why does it have to be a predefined ultimate goal? Why can't purpose come into existence at the same time as its object, or even after it? Not that I'm assuming it's the fulcrum of all your arguments, but it actually makes a significant difference.
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Old 04-25-2006, 06:31 PM   #20
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avptallarita
I don't have the time to answer to the rest of your post right now, but why does it have to be a predefined ultimate goal? Why can't purpose come into existence at the same time as its object, or even after it? Not that I'm assuming it's the fulcrum of all your arguments, but it actually makes a significant difference.
Well, if purpose comes after the object has expired then I question how much said purpose affects said object. I mean, I suppose we could argue that we don't know if Iraq has weapons of mass-destruction because they haven't been found yet. (Is that a "known unknown" or an "unknown known?") I don't think that purpose after the fact is intrisically relevant to this discussion. But that's beside the point.

The reason why I framed purpose as being predefined was to shave off subjectivity. That is to say, if something is predefined then you or I can not alter the meaning, whatever that may be if it does exist. Perhaps "predetermined" or the more theocentric "predestined" would have been a better term, but that's semantics.

Can purpose arrive in the present? Sure, I guess. But I'm thinking if purpose is objective, then it would be present idependent of human sensation. Like how Mount Everst would exist regardless of whether any one has ever seen it, purpose may need to be discovered. I'm assuming that if purpose ever existed, it would predate life. It just seems odd for life to go on for billions of years, developing billions of species, just so purpose can just come out of nowhere and just now establish itself.
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:04 PM   #21
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

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That would be imediate. I'm speaking in terms of an ultimate.
But it could be seen as the ultimate purpose of a given life. In the grand sceme of things our live span, even the lifespan of humanity as a race is miniscule, as opposed to the infinate amount of time the universe has, and will, exist. Depending on your viewpoint, reproducing is BOTH the imediate and ultimate meaning in human life
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:33 PM   #22
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

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Originally Posted by Adelleda
But it could be seen as the ultimate purpose of a given life...Depending on your viewpoint, reproducing is BOTH the imediate and ultimate meaning in human life.
It could be, but I'm thinking that life's ability to reproduce itself is more a survival mechanism than it is a predicate of purpose, presuming purpose exists; a means to an end if you will.
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Old 04-25-2006, 10:31 PM   #23
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicato
Not quite. I'm only an empiricist insofar as my (liberal) following of Occam's Razor. I think the unfalsifiable is more gratuitous than it is irrelevant, like the first three quarters of an NBA game.
So what exactly are you hoping to accomplish? No one is going to present some sort of quantitative, scientific argument validating a completely abstract and arbitrary concept.

I appreciate the attempt to meld philosophy with science, but it's in vein. Begging the question is at best a kind of intellectual masturbation. Then again, the same might be said for philosophy!
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:20 PM   #24
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoc
Then again, the same might be said for philosophy!
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:46 PM   #25
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

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No one is going to present some sort of quantitative, scientific argument validating a completely abstract and arbitrary concept.
Everyone in this thread is extremely dense and shortsighted for overlooking the correct answer.

The point of life is to live until May 9th with some form of high speed internet access and a subscription to Game Spot or IGN so they can see Nintendo's press conference live.

That's it.

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Old 04-26-2006, 12:07 AM   #26
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoc
So what exactly are you hoping to accomplish?
What I hoping to accomplish? Suddenly you have to have an agenda to pose a question? What was I hoping to accomplish in the "Have you ever..." or the "Which would you rather have in your hand?" threads? I'm bored and I find discussion based on silly question entertaining. Color me curious.

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No one is going to present some sort of quantitative, scientific argument validating a completely abstract and arbitrary concept.
That may be true, but I'm still interested in hearing folk's rationale, even though it don't fit my standard of proof. And who's to say, there may be some kind of material evidence which I'm not aware of that does suggest purpose, as I'm sure AVP will illustrate.

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I appreciate the attempt to meld philosophy with scienc, but it's in vein.
Somehow I gather you're being less than sincere when you say you appreciate anything about this topic, given your ad hominem reasoning. I didn't "meld" science with philosophy (they were in cahoots long before I hit the scene), nor did I beg the question (If'n I did I'd have a felling you'd refute my counterargument). I guess, like so much cable news, all one has to provide is innuendo and self-importance to make a point these days. *Ejaculates on littledoc.*

Last edited by Nicato; 04-26-2006 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 04-26-2006, 12:56 PM   #27
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicato
If by outside you mean "objective" then yes. I wasn't asking "Does your life have purpose?" That's question which no one can answer but the individual to whom it's posed--subjective. And I wouldn't argue the contrary.

I was asking "Does life have have a purpose?" and went on to illustrate purpose as a predifined ultimate destination, which I gather is what most people think of when they think of purpose. That's a question which, because you're no longer speaking for yourself, demands a degree of objectivity and therefore requires some amount of "outside" evidence to be affairmed positively, because such is the way of objective arguments.
I'm starting to slide into beatbass's realm myself, but I'd like to point out that all the concepts we're discussing constitute "outside evidence" by the mere virtue of being told by someone else. (In the sense that if an argument comes from The Other, it proves the existence of a world that is exterior to the mind and thus common or objective to us. Though of course they're not necessarily evidence of the truth of our arguments, just of the existence of such common world).

When I pointed to morality as a possible purpose of life, I wasn't referring to my own personal purpose (which I shall not get into, thank you very much). My claim is that every human being will agree on the basics and/or the codes of morality (unless he/she is being a provocative prick), and thus it constitutes an objective property of human life, even though it's not materially observable. To make an analogy, you will agree that consciousness is an objective property of human life, but I defy you to prove materially / objectively that we're conscious and not just automatically reacting to stimulation like a computer or coffee machine would do (press button get coffee, press button get "answer" on life's purpose). Should you deny consciousness as one of our properties, then my argument falls, because morality is intrinsically based on consciousness.

I've also got a problem with your division between individual and humanity. Their purposes can't be conflictual. I don't even know if they can be different. Also, wouldn't your interpretation of "purpose of human life" entail that as soon as it's done, life must end? Because if that's the case, I think most humanity would fight *against* such purpose. And if our purpose is not desirable, then it follows that it's not our purpose as conscious human beings.

As for the issues of purpose and time, I believe it's perfectly possible for it to be "discovered" or constructed or whatever even AFTER life has begun (though not after it has ended, which is how you interpreted my post). It's a bit like becoming mature; you're not mature as soon as you're born, you become so with time. Likewise, living things don't learn about purpose until they become conscious, and it takes a long time for them to do so. (Life started millions of years ago, and purpose only begins with wo/man as far as I can see).
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Old 04-28-2006, 03:34 PM   #28
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avptallarita
I'm starting to slide into beatbass's realm myself, but I'd like to point out that all the concepts we're discussing constitute "outside evidence" by the mere virtue of being told by someone else.
I'm curious to know how you sliding toward beatbass's realm. Beatbass is totally ignostic.

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When I pointed to morality as a possible purpose of life, I wasn't referring to my own personal purpose (which I shall not get into, thank you very much).
I didn't say you were.

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My claim is that every human being will agree on the basics and/or the codes of morality (unless he/she is being a provocative prick), and thus it constitutes an objective property of human life, even though it's not materially observable.
Firstly, not every human being agrees on the basics of morality (empathy). Infants are neccessarily completely self-centered.

Secondly, that morality is not materially observable in and of itself yet remains objective, while true, is beside the point. Although, morality is an intagible concept like "economy" or "time," its effects can be measured on the scale of empathy. You may not be able to touch or taste morality, but you can definately observe it. That's what makes it objective.

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To make an analogy, you will agree that consciousness is an objective property of human life, but I defy you to prove materially / objectively that we're conscious and not just automatically reacting to stimulation like a computer or coffee machine would do (press button get coffee, press button get "answer" on life's purpose).
I agree that consciousness is an objective property only to save my sanity. The alternative is the belief that I'm the only conscious being in the universe. This would entail you--as well as everything else--being a figment of my imagination. That argument is unfalsifiable.

Quote:
I've also got a problem with your division between individual and humanity. Their purposes can't be conflictual. I don't even know if they can be different.
I don't even know what you're talking about. Please elaborate.

Quote:
Also, wouldn't your interpretation of "purpose of human life" entail that as soon as it's done, life must end?
No.

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Because if that's the case, I think most humanity would fight *against* such purpose.
If I was making that argument, the fact that people the majority of people disagree with it says nothing of how right the argument is or is not. Ad hominem.
Quote:
And if our purpose is not desirable, then it follows that it's not our purpose as conscious human beings.
Now you're making a circular argument.

You're assuming that the agent of said purpose "desired" our existence. How do you know that our purpose is an objective to a greater purpose; that we're not just an undesirable means to a desirable end?

Quote:
As for the issues of purpose and time, I believe it's perfectly possible for it to be "discovered" or constructed or whatever even AFTER life has begun (though not after it has ended, which is how you interpreted my post).
This is why "predifined" comes into play, because it suggests that purpose predates life; that purpose isn't something "invented" by human beings because they happen to be conscious--which is excatly your argument.

Last edited by Nicato; 04-28-2006 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 04-28-2006, 05:33 PM   #29
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicato
This is why "predifined" comes into play, because it suggests that purpose predates life; that purpose isn't something "invented" by human beings because they happen to be conscious--which is excatly your argument.
Oh. Well, if your question only refers to that particular kind of purpose, then you can change my vote to "No," as I know no such purpose nor have I ever seen evidence for it.
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Old 04-29-2006, 04:54 AM   #30
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Re: Does life have a purpose?

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Originally Posted by Nicato
Beatbass is totally ignostic.

Care to elaborate?
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