Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Meanin of Life

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Eric Boggs 10/29/2012 Martin Philosophy The meaning of life has been debated among many people throughout history. Different theories have been used to try and explain what our purpose is in this life. I’ve always heard from my parents that life is too short for regrets, and that there will be good and bad days. However what is it that people strive for in life? In reality there is no right answer to this simple question. Some people strive for living life in the moment which philosopher Baggini can agree with.

Others see religion as an important way to lead their life’s as Pojman could agree with. Some like Camus believe its “humanly impossible” to find the meaning of life. Ultimately people must find it in themselves as to their purpose in this life. Julian Baggini speaks of our purpose in this life that is more appealing than Camus or Pojman. Baggini has a teleological view on life meaning our purpose is looking forward to future goals and objectives. However Baggini doesn’t mean that our purpose is to succeed presently avoiding personal happiness to achieve a better future.

An example he mentions is when people say “ I can die happy now” because a lifetime fulfillment has been achieved. What is the purpose of life after achieving a lifelong goal, and in reality Baggini essentially says “Why not”. There is nothing to live for and the feeling of emptiness settles in as nothing will satisfy that lifelong achievement. Baginni says “ the person who sacrifices too much enjoyment of life to serve the purpose of future wealth and security is thus making the mistake of overestimating the extent to which is future life will be better than the one he could have now”.

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Most people strive for a rich and fashionable lifestyle, but at what cost is someone willing to make for it. Baggini says what about this rich lifestyle is different than a person who doesn’t have these luxuries. Just because someone has a lot of material happiness doesn’t mean that person is happier. In my view I believe Baggini has the closet view on the meaning of life because living life for a nice future while taking advantages of life’s luxuries presently is a meaningful way to live.

Personally I’m not a deeply religious person, but I do know people who value religion and incorporate their views in their daily actions. Pojman argues that religion specifically theistic religion gives meaning to life. Pojman begins by defining what it means to be free and autonomous; he refers being autonomous as being “self-governed” or freedom to make your own choices. Pojman points out autonomy is good if it serves a purpose. Whether it is doing good or bad it still serves a purpose towards life. Pojman pointed out to key points an atheist women had mentioned to him in the past.

One being it is more important to be free than autonomous, and the second point being “Religion provides a grand meaning or purpose to live, but it does not allow humans to be free or autonomous” according to the atheist women. Pojman argues freedom can’t be understood apart from the notion of purposiveness. Pojman states in order to be “free” one has to” Act A, when you want to, in order to reach some goal G”. However Pojman looked into the bigger picture as to what this atheist woman was stating. Pojman essentially contradicts her statement with reasoning.

Pojman says freedom and autonomy are often distant from each other, but in theism it is bound together. Pojman way of defining the purpose of life wasn’t as appealing to me as Baggini. Religion does play a role in aspects of people’s lives just not enough in my opinion for it to matter. Camus had different views from Pojman and Baggini because he believed life was absurd and meaningless. Suicide was a prominent idea that Camus commonly spoke of. Camus states that suicide was implying you were confessing that “its not worth the trouble”.

He used an example of a man who killed himself five years after his daughter had passed away. The man simply was to emotionally instable to return to his normal behaviors. Camus had also mentioned absurdity which he defined a split in a man and his overall life. Camus explained that daily routine like working several hours a week and doing the same thing everyday will eventually come to a halt. The question is why? Why do eventually want things to change after having a stable routine life.

Camus says this is weariness which possibly leads to the idea of suicide. If something abruptly changes such as death there are two options he implies. One being able to recover what is lost, or the other is suicide. He uses the example of Sisyphus which is a god that was condemned to the underworld. Sisyphus pushes a huge stone to the top of this mountain only to roll back to the bottom to do the process from start. Camus implies that this is a usual aspect in people’s lives where being stable and having a routine is sustaining until it collapses.

I feel Camus implies what is the point of living such a life if it’s inevitable that tragedy will likely occur. I’ve had friends commit suicide and I’ve have often wondered if there was anything I could have done about. In reality I looked at it from Camus point of view as it provided them a way out and essentially tell me life is not worth living. There in so plan that says how one should live, but merely a reason to find a way to live. Baggini viewed life mostly in the moment as long as happiness and future endeavors were balanced.

Pojman had the idea that religion played an important role in one’s life while Camus thought in the end suicide seemed to be the right choice if life became too difficult. Baggini in my opinion had the closet way in interpreting the purpose of life. Baggini explains that happiness in the present with balanced goals in the future should be a way someone should live. I certainly don’t want to wait ten years to live a rich lifestyle while family and friends slip away. Life is what one makes it, but the key is finding out what purpose do people find it.

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