Philosophy Of The Cosmos - Cosmology And Meaning
Since we can think of, we, by which I mean humanity, looked up into the sky in order to find meaning and answers. Now, as the course is at an end (with the exception of the assignment), I seem to come back to the question of what it all mean to us.
It seems that all evidence that this course has uncovered would speak for the insignificance of humanity, not only in the Universe, but also in the observable universe. We seem to think that we are the only intelligent being and that some 'god' or 'designer' created us for a purpose. However, some evidence points to the opposite direction and argues that we are a mere creation of a coincidental entropy gradient that seem to be just right to create life as we know it. I do not wish to argue for a view that everything should give us a meaning, but it seems rather 'cold' and 'depressing', if we see us just as a very tiny part of the evolution of planets, solar systems and galaxies, or even the universe.
What then about the Universe itself. For example, if we assume there to be multiverses, then anything that happens within this universe may very well be insignificant to a parallel universe. Where my point is that what ever we do will no matter, not only in terms of the Universe, but also in the end after time eradicates us from the picture of this universe.
Therefore, something like meaning and purpose appears to be just a social construct that we have embedded upon us. Certainly, if we think of us as social animals, then this is very important. And thanks to Dayal who gave us all some hope, by describing humanity as living in the 'moment of glory'. Implying that we should make the most of what nature has given to us, despite the fact that in the end everything will be vanished in an burn out of galaxies.
What do you think all this cosmological explanation means? Does it give one meaning or does it take it from someone?
Leonidas
U4693040
I think there are some serious conflations in your propositions, and unnecessary assumptions. Granted, from the perspective of _Homo sapiens_, there was never any _worth_, although you would be right to point out that depending on the cosmological model used, _Homo sapiens_ could have _significance_ (and that current models oppose this). In this sense your description is quite right. However it is not at all clear that we necessarily = humanity, nor even that humanity = _Homo sapiens_. As to the meaning of 'intelligent being', it is arguable whether this term applies to a body from the perspective of a body. Arguably, even if some deity had programmed certain biological _specimens_ to do this or that action towards a purpose, those biological _specimens_ would not have any intrinsic worth, only relative significance (say, to those things created to be determined by chance, or to the frequency of similar _specimens_ in the universe [or indeed Universe]).
Thus an 'intelligent being' as a package of programs with particular mental events would be equal to saying intelligence = complexity + pre-designated significance + mental events. However, this doesn't seem to adequately characterise intelligence proper, as intelligence properly understood typically implies some sort of sentience, _apperception_ (or, if you prefer, '_I_ think'). Now from this perspective, to say we are intelligent beings is not to say that we are _Homo sapiens_, i.e. biological specimens. Consequently the worth of such a being is not the body through which such a being has expression, but its very nature, which therefore presupposes an intrinsic worth. In this sense it is irrelevant if _Homo sapiens_ or any other species evolves as a part of the universe in such a way as to be relatively insignificant. Similarly we might call such species complex (again a relative term if we mean to say 'more complex than a bacterium', as bacteria still have parts), but not necessarily intelligent, insofar as a body is without any intrinsic worth. Along these lines we might ask, does it make sense to speak of 'humanity' amongst bodies, when the term 'humanity' only makes sense from the perspective of self-perceiving beings? Now it might not be the case that we necessarily equate to humanity, but that humanity nevertheless does not equate to _Homo sapiens_, insofar as _H. sapiens_ is a biological species, humanity is a co-relation between self-perceiving beings, and 'we' are self-perceiving beings.
Meaning and purpose as such may properly be both _natural_ and _unnatural_, as it were: a 'social construct' from a biological substratum insofar as those aims are directed by the 'needs' of certain bodily impulses, and also socially and biologically independent insofar as there are meanings and purposes _for us_ as self-perceiving beings. Note that as per the previous definition, a self-perceiving being is distinct from the biological species through which it has expression, it is a being with apperception of itself as a perceiving and thinking being; as such any 'social construct' developed from a biological substratum is indeed a mere transient affair, and not a meaning or purpose for us as distinct from our bodies. Thus I would say that you are quite right to say that recognition of 'social constructs' based truly upon a biological stratum is important for us _as_ 'social animals', since many notions which may be for us _as_ self-conscious beings may be conflated in social practices with notions for us _as_ 'social animals', resulting in detriment both for us _as_ bodies and _as_ self-conscious beings. I think from this perspective, to mention such things as 'hope' can make proper sense, as in the case that we are mere bodies, such terms are rendered more or less meaningless when properly understood. Confusing an intelligent being with a mere body can have the unwanted result of thinking there is nothing of worth to strive for, that any may be as narcissistic as they want insofar as each does not transgress another's, and that we need not care for the proper meaning of terms, having already established that all worth is illusion.
As a concluding note on time, where you mention 'but also in the end after time eradicates us from the picture of this universe.' and 'despite the fact that in the end everything will be vanished in an burn out of galaxies.', it is worth asking if it makes sense for time to eradicate anything, or for anything in time to vanish. If we think of time as spatial, all times exist, and nothing can be lost whatsoever. If we think of time as something which is transient and ever changing such that things literally cease to exist in time, then it is dubious on what grounds we claim anything ever was or will be ' as such, everything would be a wash of colours, as it were. Hence there are many ways of thinking about these important notions for comprehending the universe, which can radically alter how we perceive ourselves to be (at least in the universe or Universe).
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Kyle, u 4686832.


Hey there,
I think that you might have misinterpreted some of my propositions or I have not been clear enough about them. However, I do not think that I have made some 'serious conflations'.
Firstly, Humanity does refer primarily towards the social, cultural etc. aspect of a human being within this article, simply that what takes a human apart from an animal. Otherwise, I would have used homo sapience or even human beings, which arguably imply a biological perspective. I deliberately did not mention the biological aspect, because as you mentioned it would not lead to a conclusion of meaning and purpose within ones life.
Secondly, 'intelligent being' was more seen as a critique. That is why I said 'we seem to think', by which I mean the definition one uses who does not confront the topic of what this term might actually implies. This was stated more as an observation of how generally people perceive 'humans' within a religious context. I do agree with you that an 'intelligent being' does not necessarily imply a homo sapience nor a 'human'. However, I only illustrate a common assumption to emphasise my point that we think we have a purpose and meaning and that something created us to be here for a reason.
Thirdly, to your point of 'time'. I again seem to not have made is clear enough. What I mean is, ultimately time within this 'social construct' will be 'eradicated'. The reason is that at some point, in this case I will be referring to the Homo sapience, will not exist any more. I agree with you that information cannot get lost or vanish. At least as long as current physical laws hold. However, I was more looking at a simplistic view of existence and time within this universe and that is looking at the perspective of a 'human' and his existence.
Hope that clarified some of what I have said, and I apologise for my simplifications, which might have caused the confusion.

Leonidas
U4693040