The Instigator
Leonardo
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Z4RQUON
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Meaning of Life Is Subjective

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/29/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,168 times Debate No: 37129
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)

 

Leonardo

Pro

By accepting this debate, my opponent disagrees with the motion that the meaning/purpose of human life is subjective. They must prove that the meaning of life is not subjective (alternatively that it is objective). Remember that if you use a religion to give your life meaning, then this is subjective as different religions give different meanings of life and people not following one particular religion will hold different view to the meaning of life.

It is evident in the world that the meaning of life is subjective. I have asked many different people this question. some muslims said the meaning of life is to worship Allah and pass this worldly test. Other people said you just live happily and achieve your goals. Some said to marry and have children. No matter what the meaning/purpose of our lives is that you believe in, there will always be other people who don't share your meaning of life. Hence this proves that the meaning of life is subjective to people and not an ultimate, universal and objective truth.

Another way of interpreting this motion is by asking why are we here? Is there a reason, which demands humanity to conform to? If not, then does that mean the meaning of life, belief of why we are here and exist, are subjective to each person?
Z4RQUON

Con

To defeat the motion, I do not have to demonstrate that the meaning of life is objective. At bare minimum, all I have to show is that whatever properties life does possess, meaning is not one of them. So, I shall go for that low hanging fruit.

What you call "the meaning of life" is actually your projection of meaning upon your perception of life. Whatever meaning exists, it is not "-of life" but "-of your conscious experience". The meaning is not inherent to life but of your own conscious perspective, epistemologically downstream of your 5 senses. There are plenty of life forms without central nervous systems with which to draw abstract thoughts and, so, the question of meaning is necessarily separate from the issue of whether life is present in a particular scenario.

Furthermore, independent of your perception of it, life continues to exist and have the properties that it does. Whatever properties life does possess they are objective ones and they do not include meaning. The meaning of life, objectively, does not exist and is, therefore, not subjective.
Debate Round No. 1
Leonardo

Pro

You have raised some very intriguing points.

I understand what you mean by arguing that properties of life are objective and that life objectively exists independent of our perception of its meaning. Nevertheless, most humans in the world (take the examples of the majorities from Christianity and Islam) disagree with your view. Muslims and Christians (as well as other theists) believe that God gave humans life and created everything. Muslims believe the meaning of life is to worship God and christians may agree and add that the meaning of life is also to find peace in God and follow Jesus' teachings to attain heaven. Hence, christians and muslims would argue that from their beliefs the meaning of life does exist (from God) and our lives would not exist if God didn't create us, so the meaning is objective in the sense that it is only to please God and other subjective views are wrong. I am not using the fact that the majority of the world's population hold these beliefs for the meaning of life, to prove that their beliefs are right. However, this example supports my stance on this debate and proves the motion right, that the meaning of life is subjective.

Your opinion that the objective meaning of life does not exist is also subjective and my argument by example above illustrates how a subjective view can be taken of our lives, which disregards your argument of life existing independently of our perception of its meaning.

"What you call "the meaning of life" is actually your projection of meaning upon your perception of life. Whatever meaning exists, it is not "-of life" but "-of your conscious experience".

If the meaning of life is my projection of meaning upon my perception of life- then this supports the motion that the meaning of life is subjective. My consciousness and my physical body together make up my life as it is now- a typical human life. Therefore this meaning, if it exists, is of the whole of life (including the physical bodily aspect of life), not only a fraction of it, the conscious aspect.

The question of meaning is not separate from the issue of whether life/existence is present. That is like saying that the meaning/purpose of a car (which is to drive) is independent of a car existing. The car could not have a meaning/purpose if it did not exist, just like human life can't have (even objective) meaning without existing. Asking what is the meaning/purpose of something that does not have life/existence is irrational. Hence arguing that the meaning of humans' lives is independent of there being life, is irrational.

Not all people who have an opinion on the meaning of life can prove it. They may use a holy scripture, inside feeling, satisfaction of desires or achievement of goals to support their view of the meaning of life, but this isn't necessarily strong evidence. It is easy for me to prove that the meaning of life is subjective, just ask people from different cultures, backgrounds and religions: 'What is the meaning of life?' And you will be able to see with this experiment that the meaning is subjective to different people. In other words, you choose what the meaning in your life is.

Z4RQUON

Con

//"most humans in the world... disagree with your view. "//
Centuries ago, everybody knew that the world was flat... and they were wrong.

//"The question of meaning is not separate from the issue of whether life/existence is present."//
At one point in time, the only lifeforms were single celled organisms, they had no central nervous systems and, so, no conscious experience. There is no "what it is like to be" an amoeba . "Meaning" is inseparable from "conscious experience", yes, but life does not necessarily denote conscious experience.

//"The car could not have a meaning/purpose if it did not exist"//
A car does not have a purpose, conscious observers have a purpose FOR the car. The meaning/purpose does not really exist.

Current neuroscience is indicating that free-will does not exist. If this is true then meaning, which derives from this "sense of self", does not exist either.
Debate Round No. 2
Leonardo

Pro

I agree we give subjective meaning to our lives only through our consciousness and that life doesn't necessarily denote conscious experience. Therefore it is good I specified in round one that: "By accepting this debate, my opponent disagrees with the motion that the meaning/purpose of human life is subjective." I am specifically debating for human life (which has conscious experience) as having a subjective meaning, not a single celled organism with no consciousness to create meaning.

This 'meaning' obviously doesn't exist physically in the world, but rather is a purpose created by the human mind through our consciousness. So in this way meaning does exist, it's just that it is 'not out there' but inside our minds, because the meaning was created or was initiated through our consciousness. Hence if someone argues the meaning of life is to achieve your dreams, then this meaning subjectively does exist, in the sense that it makes the life of that person purposeful and (some may argue) worth living. It is a meaning they regard to be true for themself personally. Just because this particular example of the meaning of life doesn't objectively exist in nature, does not mean it doesn't exist subjectively through that person's consciousness, just like thoughts form through our consciousness and therefore exist, but not in the physical form 'out there'.

I encourage everyone to vote for the motion, because if you feel you have a meaning, purpose or goal in life and you feel it is real and true for you, then you believe there is a meaning of life. All you now need to do to understand how this meaning of life is subjective, is to look around you and ask different people what they think the meaning of life is. Everyone will not say their meaning of life is the same as yours. This proves the meaning of life is subjective (down to individual's opinion/feeling and interpretation), rather than not existing at all. You probably won't find many people believing 'meaning of life doesn't exist', but this is also their subjective view on the meaning of life.

Thank you Z4RQUON for the debate which has changed one of my perspectives on life.
Z4RQUON

Con

Z4RQUON forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Leonardo 3 years ago
Leonardo
CatholicTraditionalist- Yes. The evidence for this motion is on my side and the burden of proof is on you to refute it, as you can objectively know the motion is true by carrying out the objective experiment of asking different people what the meaning of life is. The fact that the result of this objective experiment will be that the meaning of life is subjective to each person, proves that it is an objective truth (one that can be analysed and experimented) that the meaning of life is subjective to each person.

You are asking me to verify something that has already been verified by the objective experiment of asking different people the question about the meaning of life. It doesn't work that way. You don't verify something that already has been verified objectively.
Posted by CatholicTraditionalist 3 years ago
CatholicTraditionalist
Leonardo,, Apparently my question went over your head. Let me ask it again in another way that maybe you'll understand.

Is it an objective truth that the meaning of life is subjective?
Posted by Leonardo 3 years ago
Leonardo
CatholicTraditionalist- Assuming you are catholic, then according to your belief, no, the meaning of life may not be subjective, it's rather objective as God showed a clear way to live life in the Bible to reach heaven. In my opinion, yes it is true as far as I have seen.

If you meant something more with the question and want my reply, then you may want to be more specific and direct.
Posted by CatholicTraditionalist 3 years ago
CatholicTraditionalist
So the Pro claims that the "meaning of life is subjective". Therefore my only question to the Pro is this... Is that true?

Think about what I'm asking you. Think very deeply about it. My question will simply pass over some persons' heads, while the intelligent people will understand the point of my question.
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
Your adversary just did exactly what I knew your opponent would do.
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
That is what I meant, phrase that in a resolution. Saying something along the lines of "How we find purpose is life is subjective", if you just say the meaning of life is subjective. You are going to get trolled.
Posted by Leonardo 3 years ago
Leonardo
Phrasing the debate title as 'what is the purpose of living' seems more like a question, which should be asked in the opinion forum. Motions of debates should be a statement, of which you take either for or against side. If someone believes the meaning of life is objectively to live, then they need to prove that to me in this debate. It doesn't matter if the way of finding this meaning is subjective, as long as the truth itself is objective.
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
I think you phrased this wrong. It should be what is the purpose of living. The meaning of life, could be objectively live. That is an objective truth, the purpose and how we find it is subjective.
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
I think you phrased this wrong. It should be what is the purpose of living. The meaning of life, could be objectively live. That is an objective truth, the purpose and how we find it is subjective.
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