Monthly Archives: November 2018

A Philosopher’s Lifelong Search for Meaning – Part 4 – Death and Meaning

continued from a previous entry

  1. Is There A Heaven?

Belief in personal immortality is widespread, yet there is little if any evidence for it. We don’t personally know of anyone coming back from the dead to tell us about an afterlife, and after people die they appear, well, dead. Yet people cling to any indirect evidence they can—near-death experiences, reincarnation and ghost stories, communication with the dead, proclamations from preachers, etc. However, none of this so-called evidence withstands critical scrutiny. Continue reading A Philosopher’s Lifelong Search for Meaning – Part 4 – Death and Meaning

American Totalitarianism

Photo of Hannah Arendt in 1975Hannah Arendt

In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. … Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie … The totalitarian … leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that … one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism. Instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”
~ Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism Continue reading American Totalitarianism

A Philosopher’s Lifelong Search for Meaning – Part 3 – Philosophy, Science, and Meaning

continued from a previous entry

  1. Western Philosophy and Meaning in Life

Western philosophers typically ignore the question of the meaning of life for one or more of the following reasons: 1) they reject supernaturalism; 2) they are uncertain the question makes sense; or 3) they doubt that we possess the cognitive wherewithal to answer the question. I too reject supernaturalism, although I think we can make (a few) reasonable inferences about the meaning of life if they are drawn from our best scientific knowledge. I’ll return to this later. 

Regarding meaning in life, contemporary Western philosophers who reject the supernatural typically adopt one of three basic approaches—objective naturalism, subjective naturalism, or nihilism.
Continue reading A Philosopher’s Lifelong Search for Meaning – Part 3 – Philosophy, Science, and Meaning