The purpose Life has

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Vkothii, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    Right, hopefully (but hope springs eternal), we can bash this one up under the umbrella of "Philosophy". (heh)

    So here goes. There are some amongst us who say: "Life has no purpose".
    To which I reply: "however, Life is purposeful"; Life does have purpose.

    The purpose is to stay alive and reproduce. Things that have the property of "being alive" behave as if they are alive. This (obviously) is how we distinguish between live and dead things.
    Everything in the word exhibits behaviour of some sort, dead or alive.

    So those who believe (apart from actually saying) that Life is without purpose - "does not exhibit purpose" - I ask: what do live things do, that lets you (someone who doesn't distinguish purpose), determine that they are in fact, alive?
    Aren't you just deluding yourself believing in the "purposelessness" of life?
    Are you trying to distinguish between the questions: "why (for what reason) does Life exist ?" and "does Life behave purposefully?". Or do you see no distinction? (Actually they are the same question)

    P.S. Purposive and purposeful are synonymous, purpose is something that things with purposive behaviour have.
     
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  3. frisco Registered Member

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    There's a fine line here that we need to beware of: it's one thing to describe the behavior of a system, which is totally irrespective of whether we label it "dead" or "alive," and to endow it with intentionality. I'm not a philosopher so I'll admit that I'm stepping outside of my areas of research here, but I'm fairly sure that it's considered fallacious to describe intentions of a physical system.

    That is, two water molecules don't "want to" hydrogen bond, or a given reaction doesn't "like to" happen a certain way, but rather they proceed because the resulting configuration serves to minimize free energy or maximize entropy or such, which are well-defined concepts.

    This extends all the way up through complex life (assuming no eternal soul or such things). At present, however, we just don't have a good grasp on how phenomenal consciousness comes about from this physical system. For your argument, though, it should work just fine (since you let us argue over lower forms of life, such as bacteria, which by most accounts don't possess consciousness anyway).

    For instance, you'll never see researchers describe any kind of phenomenology of an animal's experience. You can't refer to feelings or desires, since these require intention. What you can characterize is what the animal actually did, and make models saying, "if condition X is true, then Y is more likely," or "if variable X increases, behavior pattern Y,Z,W is more likely," for example.

    Your refutation that the "purpose is to stay alive and reproduce" is dangerous because it is giving a physical system intentionality. You could probably define the purpose of life as being that for some specific philosophical construct, but as far as physics is concerned, it's hard to give intention to deterministic macro systems.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2008
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  5. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    Absolutely right. Life is a process. It has no goals; it just happens. We can. of course ,give meaning to our individual lives but that is a different matter.
     
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  7. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    Well, there you go.
    So since life is just like any other chemical reaction, it just happens to reproduce its genetic material by chance (it must be a very fortunate chance process, considering how often it succeeds)? There is no direction or purpose that we can see (or if we can, its illusory)?
    I don't think so (that is I think you're completely and utterly wrong about "no goals", "just happens").

    I don't think you will get many biologists agreeing with the idea that Life is a collection of totally random events. Reproduction doesn't happen randomly - different species use various different means to reproduce, including sexual reproduction.
    If it's really purposeless and without goals, why have these different reproductive systems developed? Why are there different kinds of organisms? Why did Life keep evolving once viable organisms had arrived on the scene? Why are there innumerable versions of prokaryotic lifeforms? Why did the eukaryotes evolve, if there is no direction or purpose?
    Why does Life evolve (why is there a process called evolution, that's restricted to living things -that is, we don't see non-living things evolving like we see live things doing)?

    Life is a process, but so is combustion; Life does not "just happen" the way a fire does, it's constrained, it's compartmented.
    It is not goal-less or directionless. We see this anytime we look at some animal bigger than an ant moving around...? If you saw a zooflagellate swimming around in a drop of water through a microscope (say, like a certain R Hooke did), would you conclude that it was doing so in a random, purposeless way? What if it managed to swim through a small maze you built for it, still just a random collection of events? No living thing exhibits responses to stimuli, or tropism because it's just a collection of random chemical reactions?

    Can (either of) you explain what purpose you saw in posting the stuff you did? This was totally random, "just happened", huh? Absolutely no reason whatsoever?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2008
  8. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    You really must get up to speed,Lots of why, why, why. You tell me. The examples you cite are irrelevant.

    Evolution has no innate purpose. Don't forget there are failure as well as sucesses, from a humanm standpoit, that is. If you feel ther is purpose you will have to offer something better than you have done uyp to now.

    PS I seem to remember that Hooke died a few years ago. You omitteed Galileo. The fact that he could see stars amd planets moving shows they have purpose. by your own token
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2008
  9. granpa Registered Senior Member

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    life has no purpose because atoms have no purpose and life is made of atoms? is that it? well atoms dont have thoughts or emotions either, yet we do.

    if you accept that we have the potential for purpose then why not a preprogrammed purpose? why not? why must our purpose be entirely arbitrary? why would you suppose such a thing. i dont see how it follows.

    it isnt clear to me what it is that you are arguing against. you seem to be saying that we have purpose but that purpose has no purpose. how can a purpose be purposeless? thats seems like a contradiction to me. what would you consider a purposeful purpose?

    as for whether our purposes are completely aribitrary, i see no reason to even suspect such a thing. why would you conclude that they were? we are all born with certain drives/desires like curiosity, empathy, love, and sex. we cannot choose them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2008
  10. Yorda Registered Senior Member

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    Without a goal there would be no reason to do anything. And since all lifeforms do something, they all have goals. Even "dead" things like rocks and atoms have a goal, so they are not really dead. There is no movement without a goal. Life is eternal motion.

    Many people think the goal is to reproduce, but it can't be because what's the point of reproduction? To stay alive. But the goal is not to stay alive (survival) either, because why stay alive? Because life is fun. And why have fun... because it's fun to have fun, and that is the meaning of life. Even little children know it.
     
  11. granpa Registered Senior Member

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    nice strawman argument.
     
  12. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    The little ones with incurable diseases are having lots of fun.
     
  13. Enmos Staff Member

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    It just happens..
     
  14. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    Given your beliefs it seems to me it would be more consistant for you to say we can hallucinate meaning. To give meaning implies that it is something real.
     
  15. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    It seems important for some people to convince others that life has no purpose. The ones who believe there is no purpose to life seem to think it is important to believe that life has no purpose. Given that they act exactly the same as people who do believe life has a purpose, why is it important to believe that life has no purpose?
     
  16. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    The purpose of life is simply more life.
     
  17. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    It is meaning on a subjective level. For example, my life revolves around composing music, trout fishing , travelling and so on.So, to me, that is waht my life means; I am expressing my goals, ifyou will. This is obviously subjective but it is real to me.
     
  18. BeHereNow Registered Senior Member

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    If we knew for sure existence had no purpose, It seems to me we could predict exact movements of nonliving particles very easily. If every movement, were like every other movement, displaying no unique characteristics, no individual purpose, then it seems a simple thing to exactly predict the movement of those smallest particles that comprise matter, living or nonliving .

    Now certainly this is no proof existence has purpose, living or nonliving.
    But it seems to me it throws a monkey wrench into the notion that there is no purpose to existence.

    How is it both true that particles have no unique purpose, and we are not able to exactly predict the movements of those smallest particles we can ‘observe’?
    Or am I behind the times?
     
  19. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    Another take on the issue is this...
    if there is no purpose in the universe, this would include the people who believe there is no purpose in the universe. There beliefs are not the products of purposeful activity, research, thinking, rationalizing, but merely things that happen, like a rock that dislodges from a slope after wind erosion and rolls down the hill.

    How creatures that have no purpose and know this could think they could have good reasons for believing something is very strange. If they are right about the universe, it is a coincidence.
     
  20. Enmos Staff Member

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    Myles, I think I love you..

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  21. pharaohmoan The illusion is you, let go. Registered Senior Member

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    Mmmm Purpose in life V's none present. Well a life with purpose and goals is generally more likely to exibit higher signs of intelligence than a life without purpose. Inteligence should lead to the answer of life but alas there is a shorfal in either our knowledge or our wisdom. Is our pupose defined by our goals, is it less than that ie a case of simply existing as comfortably as posibily or more than that for example reaching enlightenment, or perhaps less individualistic and involves evolution of the species which is a wholely different affair or maybe macroscopically speaking we should be talking about evolution of the organism, the organism being the known universe.
    Of course much of it depends on whether you believe that life goes on after death. Or is it simply passed on genetically through your offspring and that is the continuation of your spark. For me the purpose of life is fulfilment, happiness love and the acumulation of knowledge in preparation for contribution to the next universal organism.
     
  22. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    Sure, life evolves, and the process is random - except that evolved organisms DO exhibit purposeful behaviour, therefore Life is purposeful.
    If your life has no purpose, and there is no purpose to anything you do, why tell us about it? Why are you posting stuff in this forum - surely there's no reason for you to do this? Or what?
    So this stuff you typed on a keyboard, and then posted in this forum just happened, you can't explain how? A machine did it? So you're a machine?

    "None of these answers can have any meaning, because there's no purpose. You should all go and see if there's anything else that's completely purposeless for you to do, there aren't any answers. You're obviously a bunch of robots.
    Don't forget now - there is nothing meaningful, there is no purpose. Even to everything I just posted (it was something I did because I was forced to by my programming, I had no choice at all, so no need to apologise, or not apologise, what that hell is an apology anyway? Must be another one of those completely meaningless things we do)."

    Of course, there is absolutely no need to say anything about it, either. So why are we? Is there a purpose to discussing anything? Even the subjects of Life, Evolution, purpose and so on?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2008
  23. Enmos Staff Member

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    Of sorts, yes..

    You fail to see my point..
     

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