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meaning of life


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For nearly everyone it is important to think that his or her life has a purpose. But these purposes may be various: the purpose of one person's life may be to achieve one kind of goal, that of another person may be to achieve a very different kind of goal. There need be no one thing that forms the purpose of every life. (Compare: ‘everyone has a mother’ versus ‘there is someone who is the mother of everyone’. See quantifier shift fallacy.) Similarly, for many people it will be enough if at each moment there is a purpose to what they are doing, without every moment being devoted to the same purpose, and without the overall pattern itself having a purpose. The view that we are put here for a purpose, rather like being in the army, is characteristic of many religious frames of mind. It leads to bad faith when apparent certainty about what the purpose is blinds people to other possibilities and opportunities.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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