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lewilliams's picture

Dennet's Philosophy

To me, it is obvious that Dennet is essentially a philosopher. I cannot read Darwin's Dangerous Idea without being inspired to philosophize myself (probably to the disdain of my quadmates or whomever happens upon me at the incorrect time.) In one of these instances, I couldn't get over the dicussion of meaning. Could the story of evolution, in fact, rid life of its meaning? I scared my roommate in the early hours of the morning exclaming, "I need a reason to live." Juding from the horrified face of my friend, I'd realized that I'd probably overstated. I think, though, that it is exactly that reaction that makes so many oppose the story of evolution. We all want meaning in our lives. I chose to have a discussion with my roommate about this desire for meaning. She professes to have absolutely no desire for a meaning in her life. This puzzles me. I feel that even if there were no Greater Meaning, no skyhook explanation for why we are here... should we not find a crane solution? Couldn't the meaning in our lives be found in what we do with them? Aren't our passions our meaning? Career? Family? Education? Helping Humanity? Having fun? ... but I see how that all goes wrong. Many need a reason for that reason. Dennet and Darwin seem to be describing a progressive path to nowhere-- getting rid of the mind and of any skyhook notion of our specialness. It's somewhat humiliating.

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