Assignment 1 Essay

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Final Exam

Read the following short essay, and then write a 3-5 page response (12-point font, double-spaced, normal margins, no cover page, no binders). Your response should do the following three things: (1) state what the main conclusion of the essay is; (2) state what the most important premises (including sub-conclusions) are—i.e., state which premises are most important if the argument is to rationally convince its audience; (3) evaluate the quality of the argument, giving detailed reasons to justify your evaluation. For purposes of evaluation, assume that the speaker is a contemporary Canadian philosopher and the audience is a group of students in Introduction to Philosophy.

The Meaning of Life
Zoltan Zut

What is the
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But, as philosopher Tom Nagel has argued, this is not the sense of “the meaning of life” people are usually interested in. Suppose an alien species created human life in order to provide them with a future food supply. Then the purpose of human life is to be food for aliens. That would be the meaning of life, if we take
„meaning‟ to mean „purpose‟. But learning that this was the meaning of human life would not really answer the question you were asking, if you wanted to know the meaning of life. This is because learning the meaning of life is supposed to be comforting, and to guide your decisions about how to act so as to help you attain a meaningful-feeling life. Learning that aliens had a certain purpose for human life would not help with these things.

In the same way, suppose a person like God exists, and that the purpose of human life is to glorify God. That is what God made people to do (if you don‟t believe this yourself, go along with the idea for a moment for the sake of the argument). Still, if you ask “What is the meaning of life?” and you learn that you were created in order to glorify God, this may leave you fairly unimpressed. You might find this a better purpose than being food for aliens, but not one that, somehow, gives your life meaning. Some people might find this purpose one which was comforting and motivating, but others might not. Yet the meaning of life is supposed

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