100 | Solo | Life and Its Meaning
A podcast only hits the century mark once! And for Mindscape, this is it. There have been holiday messages and bonus episodes and the like. But this is the 100th officially-numbered episode. To celebrate, I decided to treat myself to a solo episode in which I reflect, somewhat non-systematically, on the age-old question of the meaning of life. I end up spending a lot (most?) of the time talking about the meaning of “life,” i.e. what it means to be a living organism in a naturalistic universe. But then I go on to muse about the construction of human meaning in a world where values are not imposed on us or objectively grounded in physical facts.
I think life does have meaning, and it’s important to understand what forms it might take. I settle largely on the idea that humans can conceive of different possible futures, assign value to them, and work against the natural order of things to create something that otherwise would not have been. This is far from the final word, even in my own mind; it’s an invitation to think and converse in a reasonable way about some of the biggest questions there are. Just like the podcast in general.
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Here are some modern works offering other perspectives on the meaning of life:
- Owen Flanagan, The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World
- Susan Wolf, Meaning in Life and Why it Matters
- Terry Eagleton, The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction
- Julian Baggini, What’s It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
- Thaddeus Metz, “The Meaning of Life” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)