PHI2204 Week 4 Reading Assignment

PHI2204 Week 4 Reading Assignment - PHI2204 Week 4 Reading...

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PHI2204 Week 4 Reading Assignment Two of the philosophers I hold in highest esteem are John Stuart Mill and David Hume, not only for their usually impeccable logic and insights, but for the eloquence and power of their prose. The excerpt below is one of my favorite set of passages in philosophy because, although I think it not quite right and is too negative and pessimistic, it captures an extremely important aspect about the meaning of life that you never, ever hear in public life, except on the bumper sticker that says essentially that life is often hard and sometimes cruel and then you die. I believe that it is an issue that everyone should address, and know that they are not alone in addressing it -- in order to determine what it is that makes life worthwhile, or that would make life worthwhile. I also think there might be many answers that are interesting about what it is that makes life worthwhile in the face of all the unhappiness, sorrows, and even misery that human beings experience and face. The part of the Dialogues in which this occurs is about God's role in the creation of life that leads to abject suffering for so many people. But as potential parents who can also create life, it seems to me one must also address this question in order to justify doing so. In most, but not all, of the debate about abortion (and in part in the debates about euthanasia), life is often assumed to be a valuable and good thing. That assumption gives Don Marquis' point its force in his essay "Why Abortion is Immoral" 1 , when he says the reason murder is wrong is because it robs someone of their most important thing -- their future and all the things they would do and experience in it But is life, and one's future, a valuable and good thing? And if it is, what makes it so? Hume challenges the view that life is all that great. The question is whether Hume is right or not and what he may be missing if he is not. But even if Hume is wrong, or partly wrong, would that imply that Marquis is right, that the future should not be taken from someone because it is a good and valuable thing? So, the following is from David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , first published posthumously in 1779. "Natural religion" meaning the understanding we might be able to have of God and/or creation from the evidence of nature, not revelation. It is basically what we today might call religion based on scientific knowledge of, say, the intricacies of the universe that seems to show design). My favorite part of this is the part I have put in bold below (copied from http://www.anselm.edu/homepage/dbanach/dnr.htm, but also available in paperback): And why should man, added he, pretend to an exemption from the lot of all
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This note was uploaded on 08/20/2011 for the course PHI 2204 taught by Professor Garlikov during the Fall '11 term at Troy.

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PHI2204 Week 4 Reading Assignment - PHI2204 Week 4 Reading...

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