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On the Meaningless of Life on Atheism

Toviyah
Posts: 88
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11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity. I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect, and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.
(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)
chui
Posts: 511
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11/12/2014 6:55:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Do you believe in all the Gods or do you disbelieve in some of them? How do you choose your God? Just because you believe in a God does that guarantee that your God exists? If atheists are right and Gods are just childish fantasies then no one can achieve perfect happiness so all life is meaningless not just that of the atheists.
Toviyah
Posts: 88
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11/13/2014 8:22:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:55:11 PM, chui wrote:
Do you believe in all the Gods or do you disbelieve in some of them? How do you choose your God? Just because you believe in a God does that guarantee that your God exists? If atheists are right and Gods are just childish fantasies then no one can achieve perfect happiness so all life is meaningless not just that of the atheists.
Sure, that's what it argues - that on atheism, all life is meaningless.
Toviyah
Posts: 88
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11/13/2014 8:24:33 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/13/2014 8:22:21 AM, Toviyah wrote:
At 11/12/2014 6:55:11 PM, chui wrote:
Do you believe in all the Gods or do you disbelieve in some of them? How do you choose your God? Just because you believe in a God does that guarantee that your God exists? If atheists are right and Gods are just childish fantasies then no one can achieve perfect happiness so all life is meaningless not just that of the atheists.
Sure, that's what it argues - that on atheism, all life is meaningless.
Actually coming to think of it, it argues for more than this, namely that atheists cannot rationally ascribe any meaning for their life while theists can.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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11/13/2014 10:18:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

I don't see why I should care whether life is overall meaningful or not. Meh.

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

I am going to rephrase this more explicitly and soundly.

(P1) Life is meaningful if and only if perfect happiness is attained
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is not eternal
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

This ensures that the argument is logically valid, and makes explicit what you need to prove in P1-3. I don't think it changes much but the use of euphemisms and irrelevant statements based on euphemisms is annoying me a lot.

Agreed that P3 is true and 4 and 5 follow if 1 and 2 are also correct. First I would like to point out for cognitive reasons, is what the hell does meaningful mean. This key term which the argument hinges on is left completely undefined. Moreover what do you mean by life, do you mean life as in a self-sustaining entity which can reproduce, metabolise or grow, or something else.

Again leaving key terms undefined means the concept is meaningless before we even address whether something can possess it or not. This is just a poor argument right off the bat for these reasons.

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.

This isn't at all convincing, you just seem to be applying your own subjective opinion to the matter. Moreover the rephrased premise, which must be true for your argument to be logically valid "Life is meaningful if and only if perfect happiness is attained" doesn't even meet prima facie plausibility. Neither does your original one "The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness".

If you actually meant something like:

"The meaning of life can only be found in the persuit of perfect happiness"

Then at best you can only argue for an epistemic unknowability of life's meaning, and not the brute fact that life is meaningless (because the only conclusion that can follow that is logically valid is "The meaning of life cannot be found".

The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised.

Sound like a very subjective personal opinion to me. Pleasure at least scentifically is only a stimuli which not all humans are capable of experiencing, and hardly seems relevant to life's *meaning*.

This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

What the heck is this...

Everyone tries to find perfect happiness, so finding perfect happiness is necessary for having a meaningful life> (To fulfil the truth of P1) That conclusion simply does not follow....

This whole justification is borderline one big appeal to emotion, and not at all objective and largely seems to be just personal opinion. P1 has not at all been proven.

Defence of P2

I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:

(1)

I am sorry if I am coming across as rude, but are you even reading what you write??

First let's get a definition of perfect:
"Being without defect or blemish: a perfect specimen."
"Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be."

Now let's go over your justification:

Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity.

Why?? That doesn't follow at all from the definitions of perfect given.

Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect

Ipsie dixit?

, and is rather intrinsically imperfect.

Again, ipsie dixit??

This is such that in perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.

Ipsie dixit, and it's literally just restating the first sentence of justification.

Summing up these 4 lines, you literally are saying that perfect happiness must be eternal, because finite happiness is intrinsically imperfect.

This. Just. Begs. The. Question!!! Terrible!!!!!

(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good

Ipsie dixit. Also define 'good', and state why something which is not good isn't and in fact cannot be perfect. A square can be not made of chocolate, but it can still be a perfect square. If the concept of chocolatiness has nothing to do with the object being a perfect square, then it means that lacking random qualities doesn't inherently negate something from being perfect.

Recall the definitions:

"Being without defect or blemish: a perfect specimen."
"Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be."

You would have to demonstrate that the requires or desirable elements are objective, for one (in order for goodness to have universal relevance to perfect happiness), or you would have to demonstrate there is a way for life to ought to be.

Good luck with that.

, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds.

You will have to actually present the whole argument and formulation of this here.

Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

Nah.

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)

Spent way too much time arguing this subject which I really don't care much about if it was true either way. Seems like a waste of time.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,255
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11/13/2014 1:41:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The only plausible source of objective purpose is teleological causation, which is absent from the atheistic worldview. The atheist therefore lacks any basis on which "meaning" can be objectively sought, since no course of action is objectively "better" than any other. If the universe has no will of its own, then there is no "ought", but only "is".
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
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11/13/2014 4:14:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

I assume that you are using "meaning" more so in the context of "purpose". I am also assuming that your conclusion "on atheism, life is meaningless" refers to the personal perspective of anyone who falls into the category of being an atheist.

With these assumptions, your argument fails before it ever begins because its main premise asserts as fact the definition of a subjective term. I would be more inclined to accept P2 is you rephrased it as "the greatest possible happiness is eternal" which is what I think you are really saying, but this highlights why the argument fails. Meaning and/or purpose does require the greatest possible happiness. No one uses the terms in that way.

In the end, all your argument is really saying is that "theistic beliefs make me happier then atheist beliefs can". Well good for you. Unfortunately reality remains whatever it is regardless of whether we are happy with it.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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11/14/2014 6:12:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/13/2014 1:41:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
The only plausible source of objective purpose is teleological causation, which is absent from the atheistic worldview. The atheist therefore lacks any basis on which "meaning" can be objectively sought, since no course of action is objectively "better" than any other. If the universe has no will of its own, then there is no "ought", but only "is".

While I would argue that even theistic worldviews lack any basis for objective meaning etc, I would add I am quite happy with my subjective purpose.

Why should anybody care about this topic, I don't see how.
Karmanator
Posts: 142
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11/14/2014 10:52:14 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity. I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect, and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.
(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)
Perfect happiness is a goal with foundations in fantasy. Happiness is subjective as it is. Happiness is attainable in the here and now, this much we know, not by the help of any prayer and miracle but hard work and perseverance.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,255
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11/14/2014 11:17:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/14/2014 6:12:44 AM, Envisage wrote:
At 11/13/2014 1:41:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
The only plausible source of objective purpose is teleological causation, which is absent from the atheistic worldview. The atheist therefore lacks any basis on which "meaning" can be objectively sought, since no course of action is objectively "better" than any other. If the universe has no will of its own, then there is no "ought", but only "is".

While I would argue that even theistic worldviews lack any basis for objective meaning etc, I would add I am quite happy with my subjective purpose.

Why should anybody care about this topic, I don't see how.

There are happy and fulfilled nihilists of course. However, living a meaningful life can be difficult when one believes meaning is nothing more than self-delusion. How interesting would science be if it were concerned, not with truth, but with convincing itself of "facts" it knows are false? Going through the motions of an objectively meaningless life isn't really any different.
blackkid
Posts: 29
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11/14/2014 3:11:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness

Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.

This is garbage. It's not a premise it's a conclusion reformed into a premise with no basis.
dhardage
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11/14/2014 4:08:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity. I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect, and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.
(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)

You proceed from a false presumption. Life isn't about perfect anything, it's just about trying to be happy and, if you're lucky, making others happy in the process. We have a very short time in this world and theists like you are wasting a good part of it 'preparing' for your next one.

Second fallacy. NOTHING is eternal, not even the universe itself. We all have a beginning and an end.

The rest of your assertions are religious twaddle promulgated by men who use your beliefs to enrich themselves and their friends at your expense and you gladly let them do it. Who's life is more meaningful?
Double_R
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11/15/2014 11:58:55 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/14/2014 11:17:08 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
There are happy and fulfilled nihilists of course. However, living a meaningful life can be difficult when one believes meaning is nothing more than self-delusion.

Yes, it's pretty difficult to continue accepting that which I believe I have no reason to accept. If you wish to make a meaningful point then you might want to use more coherent language.

But your greater point seems to be that I would be better off accepting that the meaning of my life was decided by someone other than myself. Please explain why you think this should be so.
dylancatlow
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11/15/2014 5:33:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/15/2014 11:58:55 AM, Double_R wrote:
At 11/14/2014 11:17:08 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
There are happy and fulfilled nihilists of course. However, living a meaningful life can be difficult when one believes meaning is nothing more than self-delusion.

Yes, it's pretty difficult to continue accepting that which I believe I have no reason to accept. If you wish to make a meaningful point then you might want to use more coherent language.

What about my language was hard for you to understand lol?


But your greater point seems to be that I would be better off accepting that the meaning of my life was decided by someone other than myself. Please explain why you think this should be so.

My point was simply that living a meaningful life is easier when one believes meaning has a basis in reality.
zmikecuber
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11/15/2014 7:24:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity. I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect, and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.
(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)

I think a good response would be this...

Unhappiness is when *we* are deprived of happiness. However, when we cease to exist, we cannot be deprived of something... precisely because we're not there. So, if you're happy your entire life, even if it is finite, you're "always" happy.

Another point...

Perfect happiness is to be found in the degree of the happiness enjoyed, and not the temporal length. You can be "perfectly" happy for a finite amount of time. In other words, we could argue that the degree to which we are happy determines "perfect" happiness and not a length of time.

because if we agree with you, then an eternal discomfort is infinitely horrible. Which would mean that the damned souls are experiencing an infinitely horrible punishment. But this would make hell unjust, since no action we perform can be infinitely horrible.
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"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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11/15/2014 7:35:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/13/2014 1:41:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
The only plausible source of objective purpose is teleological causation, which is absent from the atheistic worldview. The atheist therefore lacks any basis on which "meaning" can be objectively sought, since no course of action is objectively "better" than any other. If the universe has no will of its own, then there is no "ought", but only "is".

I agree. It's because of the abandonment of final causes. There is nothing which is inherently good for us, or fulfilling of our nature.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
HououinKyouma
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11/15/2014 8:07:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

It is false to say that all humans strive for perfect happiness, that is an Aristotelian assumption. There are plenty of people out there who would be quite willing to have a life with a substantial amount--though not a lot--of pain with little pleasure as long as they can do something that affords them some pleasure. For example, one might brave a life of poverty and face contempt from society, knowing that one will starve and be uncomfortable, as long as one gets to be a writer, or an artist of any kind, which is what will provide one with a meaning in life. It also rests on the assumption that pain and pleasure are mutually exclusive.

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity. I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect, and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.
(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

This premise relies on the assumption that something finite cannot be perfect. A perfectly happy life, according to your definition of it, would be absolutely boring if protracted eternally--therefore it would not be perfect.

Thus your argument stands refuted.

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)
"Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire." F. Nietzsche.

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Dragonfang
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11/15/2014 8:23:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Is it me or are there people trying to say that they find it meaningful to try to convince us that life is meaningless?

Sigh... Never mind. Can't blame people (or more accurately, organisms with illusion of identity and consciousness) whom mama nature supposedly forced to write things like that.
missmedic
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11/16/2014 12:05:06 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity. I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect, and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.
(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)
The greatest mystery of religion is, and has always been, "who created God ?". Christians claim that such a question "begs the question", so to speak, because it assumes that God has a cause. This point is well taken. However, there is a specific fact about God which does require a cause : God"s intentionalities.

Now, there are a couple of things we have to establish about intentionality. The first is that intentionality is a necessary prerequisite of action. In fact, Christians claim that God acts by pure intentionality.

The second is that intentionality arises from internal or exterior stimuli. We act either because an exterior entity " such as a threat " prompts us to act, or because we have internal needs, emotions or other motivation of this sort. A being floating around in space, with no stimuli and no need of any sort, would have no motivation to act.

Given these facts, where does God"s intentionality for Creation comes from ? Obviously, God at that point cannot have any exterior stimuli, since there is nothing outside of him. He also cannot have any internal stimuli, since he is an infinite being : an infinite being by definition can have no limits such as needs, emotions, or any other such motivation. Finally, God could not have created his own intentionality, simply because such creation would itself require intentionality.

The only possible conclusion left is that God"s intentionalities came from a transcendent creator. We can formulate the argument as such :
1.God is defined as Creator. (premise)
2.God is defined as an infinite being. (premise)
3.God had intentionality at the act of Creation. (from 1)
4.Before the act of Creation, God had no external stimuli. (by definition)
5.Before the act of Creation, God had no internal stimuli. (from 2)
6.The source of God"s intentionality for Creation must come from a creator transcendent to God. (from 3, 4 and 5)
1.There is a First Intention-Giver. (from 6)
Double_R
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11/16/2014 9:29:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/15/2014 5:33:34 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/15/2014 11:58:55 AM, Double_R wrote:
At 11/14/2014 11:17:08 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
There are happy and fulfilled nihilists of course. However, living a meaningful life can be difficult when one believes meaning is nothing more than self-delusion.

Yes, it's pretty difficult to continue accepting that which I believe I have no reason to accept. If you wish to make a meaningful point then you might want to use more coherent language.

What about my language was hard for you to understand lol?

Delusion: an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.
https://www.google.com...

Please explain why anyone would regard their own meaning as irrational and a symptom of a mental disorder.

But your greater point seems to be that I would be better off accepting that the meaning of my life was decided by someone other than myself. Please explain why you think this should be so.

My point was simply that living a meaningful life is easier when one believes meaning has a basis in reality.

And what basis could that possibly be other than a determination made by someone else?
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,255
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11/16/2014 12:55:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/16/2014 9:29:44 AM, Double_R wrote:
At 11/15/2014 5:33:34 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/15/2014 11:58:55 AM, Double_R wrote:
At 11/14/2014 11:17:08 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
There are happy and fulfilled nihilists of course. However, living a meaningful life can be difficult when one believes meaning is nothing more than self-delusion.

Yes, it's pretty difficult to continue accepting that which I believe I have no reason to accept. If you wish to make a meaningful point then you might want to use more coherent language.

What about my language was hard for you to understand lol?

Delusion: an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.
https://www.google.com...

Please explain why anyone would regard their own meaning as irrational and a symptom of a mental disorder.

Why are you trying to be difficult? Obviously my point was that someone who believes one thing, and yet acts as if the opposite were true, in effect must delude themselves. You can disagree without pretending that my point was incoherent.


But your greater point seems to be that I would be better off accepting that the meaning of my life was decided by someone other than myself. Please explain why you think this should be so.

My point was simply that living a meaningful life is easier when one believes meaning has a basis in reality.

And what basis could that possibly be other than a determination made by someone else?

That's very inexact. Trading one subjective opinion for another doesn't change anything. So no, my greater point is not "I would be better off accepting that the meaning of my life was decided by someone other than myself."
Double_R
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11/16/2014 1:10:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/16/2014 12:55:16 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/16/2014 9:29:44 AM, Double_R wrote:
At 11/15/2014 5:33:34 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/15/2014 11:58:55 AM, Double_R wrote:
At 11/14/2014 11:17:08 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
There are happy and fulfilled nihilists of course. However, living a meaningful life can be difficult when one believes meaning is nothing more than self-delusion.

Yes, it's pretty difficult to continue accepting that which I believe I have no reason to accept. If you wish to make a meaningful point then you might want to use more coherent language.

What about my language was hard for you to understand lol?

Delusion: an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.
https://www.google.com...

Please explain why anyone would regard their own meaning as irrational and a symptom of a mental disorder.

Why are you trying to be difficult? Obviously my point was that someone who believes one thing, and yet acts as if the opposite were true, in effect must delude themselves. You can disagree without pretending that my point was incoherent.

No, your point wasn't obvious and especially given the topic it makes no sense why you would make such an argument. The atheists here are saying that their subjective meanings to their own lives is more than sufficient. You can disagree with that but you can't claim that they are acting differently then they believe.

But your greater point seems to be that I would be better off accepting that the meaning of my life was decided by someone other than myself. Please explain why you think this should be so.

My point was simply that living a meaningful life is easier when one believes meaning has a basis in reality.

And what basis could that possibly be other than a determination made by someone else?

That's very inexact. Trading one subjective opinion for another doesn't change anything. So no, my greater point is not "I would be better off accepting that the meaning of my life was decided by someone other than myself."

Hence the words "other than". I was giving you an opportunity to explain what that basis is, if not a subjective opinion.
Envisage
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11/16/2014 1:42:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/14/2014 11:17:08 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/14/2014 6:12:44 AM, Envisage wrote:
At 11/13/2014 1:41:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
The only plausible source of objective purpose is teleological causation, which is absent from the atheistic worldview. The atheist therefore lacks any basis on which "meaning" can be objectively sought, since no course of action is objectively "better" than any other. If the universe has no will of its own, then there is no "ought", but only "is".

While I would argue that even theistic worldviews lack any basis for objective meaning etc, I would add I am quite happy with my subjective purpose.

Why should anybody care about this topic, I don't see how.

There are happy and fulfilled nihilists of course. However, living a meaningful life can be difficult when one believes meaning is nothing more than self-delusion.

Who cares about living a meaningful life? That seems like such a meaningless concept (wtf is a "meaningful life" supposed to.... mean? No pun intended). And no I am not mocking, only stating that the whole concept of 'meaningful life' is non-cognitive. Dropping the use of meaningless terms and referring just to concepts for things like this is much more useful.

It is perfectly coherent to talk about living a happy, or fulfilled life. Even to talk about a purposeful life, these can all be coherent subjectively or objectively. A meaningful life though is just an empty label.
mashi
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11/16/2014 2:07:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/13/2014 8:24:33 AM, Toviyah wrote:
At 11/13/2014 8:22:21 AM, Toviyah wrote:
At 11/12/2014 6:55:11 PM, chui wrote:
Do you believe in all the Gods or do you disbelieve in some of them? How do you choose your God? Just because you believe in a God does that guarantee that your God exists? If atheists are right and Gods are just childish fantasies then no one can achieve perfect happiness so all life is meaningless not just that of the atheists.
Sure, that's what it argues - that on atheism, all life is meaningless.
Actually coming to think of it, it argues for more than this, namely that atheists cannot rationally ascribe any meaning for their life while theists can.
It depends on what you think the Logos of life is. Personally the Logos of life for me is the dialectics of the universe. :)
Otokage
Posts: 2,360
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11/16/2014 3:27:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

I agree except for the part of "perfect", as I see perfection as a fictitious concept, and therefore perfect happiness is not really attainable.

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity.

I disagree, I have the desire for it to be lifelasting, not eternal, as I am not eternal, and therefore my mind state can not be eternal either.

I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect. and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.

Perfect means essentialy "without flaw". You are assuming that to be finite is to be imperfect, because you think finiteness is a flaw, which is something highly subjective.

(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)

Well, since I do not agree with the two first premises, I guess I will consider those who follow false too.
Toviyah
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11/16/2014 6:35:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
First I would like to point out for cognitive reasons, is what the hell does meaningful mean.
First, not everything has to be cognitive! That's a pretty much dead concept now in philosophy of language. Only systems must be cognitive, not propositions, words or sentences. Read Carl Hempel's The Logic of Functional Analysis. Secondly, I think it's obvious what it means. Thirdly, it means something is directed towards an ultimate, objective, end. I suppose it could be called telos.

Moreover what do you mean by life, do you mean life as in a self-sustaining entity which can reproduce, metabolise or grow, or something else.
Sure, any kind of life.

leaving key terms undefined means the concept is meaningless before we even address whether something can possess it or not. This is just a poor argument right off the bat for these reasons.
Haha well I think you are jumping in too quickly. Before I respond to your criticisms, I should point out that I did this in the forum for the purpose (pun intended) that the basic structure of the argument could be discussed, not as a detailed defence of the argument. To define key terms, to discuss the premises, etc. is the reason I put this in the forums. What I put in the OP isn't a complete defence of the argument, it's a sketch. I say this because much of your objection and polemic is centred around what I wanted to clarify in the course of discussion!

This isn't at all convincing, you just seem to be applying your own subjective opinion to the matter. Moreover the rephrased premise, which must be true for your argument to be logically valid "Life is meaningful if and only if perfect happiness is attained" doesn't even meet prima facie plausibility. Neither does your original one "The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness".

Let me quote - I think part of your issue is the way I summarised the concept. I'll do this throughout because I can see you don't think this is a serious debate.
Here is what Goetz (2012) says:
"First, consider Taylor's contribution. As he suggests, meaningfulness involves a desire, the object of that desire (which is a goal or purpose) and the satisfaction of that desire (which is the achievement of the goal).... We can say that with respect to one's life as a whole that one has the desire for perfect happiness and the satisfaction of that desire makes for an ultimately meaningful life....Second, there is Nagel's concern about taking our pruposes seriously. Given that perfect happiness is intrinsically good, it is perfectly reasonable for one to take the purpose of experiencing one's own perfect happiness seriously....the desire for this happiness illuminates the purpose for which one is made by one's artificer".
I don't have space/time to go into all these concepts but I'll touch upon a few of them. It will be explained in due course.

At best you can only argue for an epistemic unknowability of life's meaning, and not the brute fact that life is meaningless (because the only conclusion that can follow that is logically valid is "The meaning of life cannot be found"."Sound like a very subjective personal opinion to me. Pleasure at least scentifically is only a stimuli which not all humans are capable of experiencing, and hardly seems relevant to life's *meaning*.

You're not really getting the argument - whether people can actually experience a hedonic state in this life is an irrelevance. Indeed, I don't think it's possible. But it's an irrelevance nonetheless.
Here is what Nagel (1986) states:
"I think pleasure and pain are very important, and they provide a clearer case for a certain kind of objective value than preferences and desires... I shall defend the unsurprising claim that sensory pleasure is good and pain bad, no matter whose they are... Almost everyone takes the avoidance of his own pain and the promotion of his own pleasure as subjective reasons for action in a fairly simple way; they are not backed up by any further reasons."
Thus, according to Nagel, a "hedonic state is intrinsically good ("not backed up by any further reasons") and thus the opposite intrinsically bad.
A life, therefore, is considered good and, a fortiori, 'happy', if it promotes pleasure and bad if it promotes pain. A life, then, is *perfectly* 'happy' (good) if there exists no pain and only pleasure. That much is obvious. But why is it objective? Well, because of its intrinsic goodness (as opposed to instrumental goodness). Nagel explains this by noting that people do not desire this for any extrinsic reason - basically he states that in order to find the meaning of life, one must ask 'am I justified in taking my purpose seriously', to which asking this of pain and pleasure, requires no further justification. Read his book, it's pretty groundbreaking in this area."

Everyone tries to find perfect happiness, so finding perfect happiness is necessary for having a meaningful life> (To fulfil the truth of P1) That conclusion simply does not follow...
Strawman.

I am sorry if I am coming across as rude, but are you even reading what you write??
No problem, I know you're well intended :) And of course I do lol! This argument is taken from various concepts from the philosophy of the meaning of life. The idea of perfect happiness as the meaning of life is accepted or seriously discussed in these philosophical circles! Just look at the works by Goetz, Lewis, Nagel, Eagleton, Camus, Gordon, Taylor, Sartre, Edwards or Nielsen.

First let's get a definition of perfect:""Being without defect or blemish: a perfect specimen."""Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be."
Sure.

Why?? That doesn't follow at all from the definitions of perfect given.
I'll refer you to my earlier paragraph. And perfect happiness is eternal not from the fact it's perfect, but from the fact it's essentially/intrinsically good. Here is a quote from Wallis (2002):"
"Nothing short of endless joy and satisfaction will suffice to give us what we most deeply crave. The factor seek happiness is axiomatic... Clearly, if some partial experience of happiness is desirable, perfect happiness is even more so. Either we have such happiness, or we do not. If we do not, then it is something we want. And if we never get it, our lives will
End in some degree of frustration. On the other hand, if we have it, we would not want it to end. If it did end, our lives would end in frustration. The only alternative to a frustrating end to our lives is perfect happiness, happiness without end."
And the (atheist) philosopher Kai Nielson:
"As I am now in possession of the normal powers of life, with things I want to do and experience, with pleasure in life and with people I very much care for and who care for me, I certainly do not want to die. I should very much like, in such a state, to go on living forever".
Make of that what you will.

Ipsie dixit?"Again, ipsie dixit??"Ipsie dixit, and it's literally just restating the first sentence of justification.
Just wait for me to expand on the points :)

Summing up these 4 lines, you literally are saying that perfect happiness must be eternal, because finite happiness is intrinsically imperfect."This. Just. Begs. The. Question!!! Terrible!!!!!
Haha not at all!"A reductio isn't begging the question!

(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good
Ipsie dixit.
I wouldn't say so, essential goodness seems to be a de re property of perfect happiness.
Also define 'good'
morally desirable

You would have to demonstrate that the requires or desirable elements are objective, for one (in order for goodness to have universal relevance to perfect happiness), or you would have to demonstrate there is a way for life to ought to be.
I agree. I explained why it must be objective earlier. And the way life ought to be is what Goetz calls a 'just good-seeking self-formin
Toviyah
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11/16/2014 6:37:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/14/2014 4:08:30 PM, dhardage wrote:
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity. I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect, and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.
(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)

You proceed from a false presumption. Life isn't about perfect anything, it's just about trying to be happy and, if you're lucky, making others happy in the process. We have a very short time in this world and theists like you are wasting a good part of it 'preparing' for your next one.
'trying to be happy' entails a hedonic state of existence. And thus, premise 1 of the argument.

Second fallacy. NOTHING is eternal, not even the universe itself. We all have a beginning and an end.
Not even abstracta?

The rest of your assertions are religious twaddle promulgated by men who use your beliefs to enrich themselves and their friends at your expense and you gladly let them do it. Who's life is more meaningful?
No Sir, this is discussed by atheists too.
Toviyah
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11/16/2014 6:40:26 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/15/2014 8:07:33 PM, HououinKyouma wrote:
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

It is false to say that all humans strive for perfect happiness, that is an Aristotelian assumption. There are plenty of people out there who would be quite willing to have a life with a substantial amount--though not a lot--of pain with little pleasure as long as they can do something that affords them some pleasure. For example, one might brave a life of poverty and face contempt from society, knowing that one will starve and be uncomfortable, as long as one gets to be a writer, or an artist of any kind, which is what will provide one with a meaning in life. It also rests on the assumption that pain and pleasure are mutually exclusive.

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity. I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect, and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.
(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

This premise relies on the assumption that something finite cannot be perfect. A perfectly happy life, according to your definition of it, would be absolutely boring if protracted eternally--therefore it would not be perfect.
Why would it be boring? Please expand.

Thus your argument stands refuted.

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)
Toviyah
Posts: 88
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11/16/2014 6:44:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/16/2014 3:27:06 PM, Otokage wrote:
At 11/12/2014 6:35:35 PM, Toviyah wrote:
I don't want to debate this, so I though I would set it out on here.

In essence, the atheist life is meaningless, given a couple of reasonable assumptions. Here is some sort of argument:

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Defence of P1
Why should we admit this? Well, it seems fairly obvious. Life's purpose can only be found in happiness in one form of another - that is, opposed to pain. And not only imperfect happiness, but perfect happiness.
The underlying question, I suppose, is 'what is perfect happiness?', the answer to which is that it is a perfectly hedonic state, where pleasure is maximised and pain minimised. This is true regardless of the (perhaps subjective) means to get it - it is true regardless of whether one tries to attain it through, say, material wealth, or spiritual fulfilment, and is an absolute constant in any meaning one might ascribe to a life. Everyone tries to achieve this paradigm in one way or another.
What therefore emerges is that the only possible meaning to life is the receiving of perfect happiness.

I agree except for the part of "perfect", as I see perfection as a fictitious concept, and therefore perfect happiness is not really attainable.
Why is perfection fictitious? Do you not see abstracta to be perfect? The concept of God (assuming he exists, of course...)? Love?

Defence of P2
I think there are two reasons why we should admit this:
(1) Perfect happiness, as essentially and intrinsically good, means that one must desire it's continuation for eternity.

I disagree, I have the desire for it to be lifelasting, not eternal, as I am not eternal, and therefore my mind state can not be eternal either.
You are assuming a materialistic identity where you=your body. That is open to criticism.

I suppose this is a sort of Anselmian ontological argument. Perfect happiness is just that - perfect. But this means that it must be eternal, for a finite happiness is anything but perfect. and is rather intrinsically imperfect. This is such that if perfect happiness is to be perfect at all, it must be eternal.

Perfect means essentialy "without flaw". You are assuming that to be finite is to be imperfect, because you think finiteness is a flaw, which is something highly subjective.
I don't think I am making a generalised case for the imperfection of the finite but certainly in this case. On that note though, I can't think of anything that could be both perfect and finite. But that's not entirely relevant to the argument.

(2) As perfect happiness is that which is essentially good, By axiom S4, it is necessarily essentially good, because essentiality is an accessibility function across possible worlds. Taking an Aristotelian formation of Alethic modality (and, indeed, a Lewisian concept too) then perfect happiness exists in any state of affairs, were it to exist (which I have shown it does).

Premises 3-5 are incontestable. 3 is obvious, and 4-5 follow from the previous premisses.

Therefore, the atheist life is meaningless. He cannot attain perfect happiness, which is the objective foundation for meaning in life."

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts :)

Well, since I do not agree with the two first premises, I guess I will consider those who follow false too.
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11/16/2014 7:30:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
*Note, I had a full reply ready, but I realise that its much more important to actually get your argument logically valid first, since all the rebuttals will just be a waste of time since even if I accept all your reasoning to be sound (I don't), you have still not proven a thing.*

First, not everything has to be cognitive! That's a pretty much dead concept now in philosophy of language. Only systems must be cognitive, not propositions, words or sentences.
If "meaningful" is a meaningless concept, then we are wasting our time here" You might as well ask "what is the wibawaboo of life" and it would make just as much sense" Perhaps cognitive was the wrong word though.

Secondly, I think it's obvious what it means.

I don"t. Which is why I asked you to define the concept you are referring to. "It is obvious" is not an a valid point"

Thirdly, it means something is directed towards an ultimate, objective, end. I suppose it could be called telos.

There we go! *Thumbs up* In which case I would strongly agree with you, life cannot have meaning in this case. But I don"t think that"s what most people accept when they think about a "meaningful life". When I personally think about a meaningful life I think about a life which has had impact on others, so that is how I personally would define it.

But now do you see the problem, a "meaningful life" is a rather useless term if the concept of meaningful is not explicit and direct. Hence this entire argument is a waste of time" Since while the argument is valid (in the two rephrased versions I gave), you cannot hope to demonstrate any of the premises true if we don"t even have a definition of "meaningful" which is not in contention.

For the same reasons moral arguments for or against the existence of God fail.

Onto the logical validity... Your argument as it stands is invalid (and hence obviously, unsound). Neither P4 or P5 follow from the premises given.

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is temporary
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Going to tweek P3, no biggie....

(P1) The meaning of life is to be found in the pursuit of perfect happiness
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is not eternal
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

The only conclusion that follows from P2 and P3 is "On atheism, there is no perfect happiness". It also inevitably implies the original P4 I suppose. But even leaving that in as it is, P5 doesn't follow from 1 and 4. P5 can only follow if you substitute P1 with "Life is meaningful if and only if perfect happiness is attainable" (or something stronger), which means your goalposts for proving P1 have now shifted, and your original justifications for P1 do not work.

(P1) Life is meaningful if and only if perfect happiness is attainable
(P2) Perfect happiness is eternal
(P3) On atheism, life is not eternal
(P4) Therefore, perfect happiness is unattainable on atheism (from 2,3)
(P5) Therefore, on atheism, life is meaningless (from 1,4)

Let's get this much agreed on before continuing.