Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Why act morally ?and the meaning of life--Does it matter?

Because if you admit that you would resent it if someone else did to you what you are now doing to him, you are admitting that you think he would have a reason not do it to you, .....there is nothing so special about you....if it's reason anyone would have not do hurt anyone else in this way, then it is reason you have not to hurt someone else in this way(since anyone means everyone(page 66)

The basis of morality is a belief that good and harm to particular people (or animals) is good or bad not just from their point view, but form a more general point of view(page 67)

These are questions within ethics. They presuppose the ethical point of view. "Why should I act morally? is on another level. It is not a question within ethics, but a question about ethics.

page 204
... ....Why should I act morally ? is a question which may properly asked by anyone wondering whether to act only on grounds that could be acceptable from this universal point of view. The question asks for reasons for going beyond this personal basis of action....

Every rational egoistic activity of other rational agents is rationally justifiable

For instance,
page 217
...psychopaths are egocentric to an extreme:neither other people, nor worldly success, nor anything really matters to them But why is their own enjoyment of life not sufficient to give meaning to their lives?

Singer is negative about phchopaths, but as Singer admits(p204) there are people who enjoy life without thinking of anything but their own interest.
Rationality by itself is not directed at any good for humans or anything. This is what Hume meant when he wrote, "Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the world to the scratching of my finger. page182 Baggini

Because we are used to thinking o meaning and morality in life as being linked, it may sound odd to say the Gestapo officer can have a meaningful but immoral life. However, there is nothing contradictory....about doing so. page 170 Baggani

So after all there is no compelling reason why we should hold the moral point of view.
(Note also that Nagel admits his argument does not "tell us how much we should care about people in other countries in comparison with our fellow citizens. page 68)

page 218
If we are looking for a purpose broader than our own interests, something will allow us to see our lives as possessing significance beyond the narrow confines of our own conscious state.......

But taking the moral point views can contribute to the meaning of life. For some people, yes, but is it for everyone?

page 166
..the attempt to argue that the whole idea of 'a meaning of life" is incoherent (like the color of a symphony is literally meaningless--zero) stumbles when it comes to the meaning of meaning which concerns the importance something has, as in 'it means a lot to me'. ....it does not have meaning in itself, from neutral perspective. But it means something to us....The question is thus one about why life is of value to us, why we think it is important and worth living.

The perspective on the meaning of life differ from a person to a person.


page 100
the trick is to keep your eyes on what's in front of you and allow justifications to come to an end inside your life, and inside the lives of others to whom you are connected.

About the types of meaning that depends on relation to other people, ...If one's life has point as a part of something larger, it is still possible to ask about that larger thing, what the point of it?

page 97
But does it matter that it does not matter?"So what you might say.

page 101

....Even if life as a whole is meaningless, perhaps that's nothing to worry about. ....Part of the problem is that some of us have an incurable tendency to take ourselves seriously. We want to matter to ourselves "from the outside".....Many human efforts...get some of their energy from a sense of importance----a sense that what you are doing is not just important to you, but important in some larger sense; important....if ..the grave is its goal , perhaps it's ridiculous to take our self so seriously. ...if we can't help taking ourselves so seriously....Life may be not only meaningless but absurd.

But does it matter? Life is like that.

page 158
My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I am happy. (Charles Sshulz Cartoonist)

....here is meaning of life. ...Well it's nothing very special. Try and be nice to people avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.(Monthy Python's the meaning of life) page 185 Baggani


What does it all means? Thomas Nagel
Pracrial Ethics Peter Singer
What's it all about? Julian Baggini

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