The Meaningfulness of Lives
In what I have called an age of economics, it is even more urgent to ask the question of a meaningful life: what it consists in, how we might live one. Philosophy cannot prescribe the particular character of meaning that each of us should embrace. It cannot tell each of us individually how we might trace the trajectory that is allotted to us. But it can, and ought to, reflect upon the framework within which we consider these questions, and in doing so perhaps offer a lucidity we might otherwise lack. This is as it should be. Philosophy can assist us in understanding how we might think about our lives, while remaining modest enough to leave the living of them to us.
I left a link to the story quoted above on Liam’s post about the nature of life’s meaning if not provided from an external ‘god’ force or intelligent design. But many of the conversations we have had – and will have – are the logical extensions of many of our metaphysical concerns.
It is no random act that organizes our philosophy course in the order that it does, as questions about What is, and What is it like naturally lead us to consider what we can know objectively (or personally/subjectively) in such a world, and then onto – based upon that knowledge – what it is that constitutes a good life.
This assumes of course that a ‘good life’ is in some way connected to life’s purpose. Though perhaps that is a debate worth having as well.