The Instigator
Unspired
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
doomswatter
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

All actions are meaningless from an objective perspective.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
doomswatter
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 644 times Debate No: 55782
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

Unspired

Pro

I will attempt to argue that all conscious actions or thoughts originating from a conscious observer are essentially meaningless.

By meaningless, I am trying to suggest, among other things, that all actions and thoughts effectively lead to an empty goal. With respect to life, it is my position that life constantly reproduces itself with no meaningful objective.

At some point, life can be said to have begun. The cause for this beginning is likely a result of essentially deterministic physical processes which resulted in a replicating structure. If it is accepted that the ultimate goal in life is reproduction, and that the origin of life is a result of the application of uncontrolled physical laws, then the inevitable conclusion is that life is meaningless.

However, if those beliefs are not met, I believe the conclusion that life is without meaning can still be reached.

Keep in mind that this refers to the core of meaning. For example, if I move my fist to punch a wall, moving my fist would have meaning within the context of the need to punch a wall; however, for the purposes of this debate I would say that moving the fist is effectively meaningless, assuming punching a wall is a useless action.
doomswatter

Con

I accept. I will let Pro build his argument first. I look forward to an interesting debate!
Debate Round No. 1
Unspired

Pro

My argument is essentially that which I have stated in my opening remarks.

1. There is no meaning in physics.
If it is accepted that an element of the universe is bound by physical laws, and that living beings are observers are elements of the universe, there is no room for meaning or purpose. The position that "everything happens for a meaning" is also false since the root of all events can be traced to the physical/chemical processes which initiated them. Laws of physics are too simple to lead to any purposeful outcome.

2. Our existence is a cycle of life and death.
Each living being, or each component therein, exists in such a way that it lives with an apparent purpose of allowing its successor the ability to live. This even applies to mental processes: one often thinks in order to predict future events for the future self (successor) to handle. However, once the living being perishes, it is no longer of any apparent purpose. With respect to that specific conscious being, its existence was meaningless, and so is the successor, especially since the origin of life was without sufficient purpose as well.
doomswatter

Con

Thank you, Pro, for the chance to debate this challenging subject.

Unless I'm mistaken, for the purposes of this debate, the following definition of "meaning" is being used: "the end, purpose, or significance of something."[1]

My opponent's arguments, syllogized, seem to be:

P1: The universe is nothing but physical processes.
P2: Physical processes are meaningless.
C: The universe is meaningless.

P3: Life is about procreation and survival.
P4: Procreation and survival are meaningless.
C: Life is meaningless.

Pro, please correct me on these if I am wrong. Both arguments are logically sound. In order to dispute the conclusions, I must attack the premises. I will now address P2 and P4.


Purpose On a Basic Level

By definition, anything that results from a process can be that process' meaning, as the result is the "end, purpose, or significance" of its process. Almost anything can be said to have a purpose. Butterflies pollinate flowers, vultures clean up waste, I take part in online debates. Now, perhaps you don't consider those purposes to be truly meaningful...

Objectivity

My opponent's resolution states that actions are meaningless from an objective perspective. However, is it possible to know this? Has my opponent ever examined meaning from an objective perspective? How did he know it was truly objective? The problem with arguing from objectivity is that objectivity in regard to meaning is impossible to achieve, because...

Meaning is Inherently Subjective

Whether or not an action or result is truly meaningful, purposeful, or significant is purely subjective. To me, physical processes, procreation, and survival may be very significant and meaningful, while they are meaningless to you. Which of us has the objective perspective? Neither of us. The concept of "meaning" is not some transcendent being that exists outside of physical processes. We, the observers, invented the word and concept to describe things that we subjectively consider significant.

The Standard of Meaning

If it were possible that meaning could be determined apart from our own subjectivity, then there must be a standard. Let's assume, for the sake of this argument, that my opponent is correct, and physical processes and life are meaningless. In order for him to have judged this, he must have a standard of measurement. So, what has my opponent used to measure meaning? He must, necessarily, have something he considers meaningful with which to contrast everything else.

Declaring that nothing has meaning, therefore everything is meaningless is like saying nothing is big, therefore everything is small. If you have nothing you consider the former, how can you judge the latter?

I do not need to address my opponent's P1 and P3, because his P2 and P4 are impossible to support.


Back to you, Pro.

------
[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Unspired

Pro

Unspired forfeited this round.
doomswatter

Con

Aw. Extend.
Debate Round No. 3
Unspired

Pro

Unspired forfeited this round.
doomswatter

Con

Pro failed to uphold his BoP in proving that all actions are meaningless. In order to prove something meaningless, you must have a meaningful standard with which to contrast it. This, of course, left Pro in a difficult position, considering his arguments. I would have liked to hear more arguments or rebuttals from Pro. Oh, well, maybe later.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Empiren 2 years ago
Empiren
Isn't this the "humans define the meaning" argument and if you objectively look without humanity the action has no base meaning and is just a "cause and effect" relationship?
Posted by Adam_Godzilla 2 years ago
Adam_Godzilla
this is exactly what I was going to debate thank u for getting the ball rolling. Join the revoltuion.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Themba 2 years ago
Themba
UnspireddoomswatterTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF & Uncontested arguments
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
UnspireddoomswatterTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeits. And arguments for the unrebutted case. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.