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Theism and the Meaning of Life (Part One)


John Danaher


Philosophical Disquisitions

February 25, 2013

This article starts by critiquing Craig’s conception of meaning and then offers an alternative conception that does not depend on the truth of theism. While I enjoyed Di Muzio’s article, I was frustrated by the lack of formality in it (this might just be an annoying idiosyncrasy of mine, for which I apologise). In particular, I was frustrated by the failure to formalise Craig’s argument and then to map out each step in the critique of that argument. Admittedly, this is not an easy thing to do. This is for two reasons: (i) in contrast to his other work, Craig doesn’t go to the bother of formalising his own argument on the meaning of life; and (ii) his comments on meaning are quite rhetorical and enthymematic.


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Posted by Rick Searle  on  02/25  at  11:49 AM

Craig’s understanding of meaning appears to suffer from a pretty narrow understanding of religious thought. There are religions e.g.
Confucianism that don’t care all that don’t care that much for either the concept of God or immortality and yet can certainly still be considered robust systems of meaning.

His demand that something need be immortal to have real significance seems to be based on a de-centering of the individual in terms of space and time. Let me call it a sphere of meaning.

Most of the meaning for an individual exist within the sphere closest in space and time- family, job, community- next week, next year next decade. Sometimes it reaches out to a larger time horizon- artistic or political legacy, but the farther out in space and time one goes the less ones individual meaning becomes diffuse which doesn’t mean that an individual life doesn’t have meaning just that his sphere of meaning need not correspond to everything that is or will be or possess features of eternity.






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