Abstract

Why do people still anguish over the meaning of life? Hasn’t philosophy had enough time to find the answer? In his First Critique, Kant famously wonders why science progresses while philosophy stagnates. Whereas the metaphysical questions he identifies could be rendered into antimonies, there is a bias toward thinking that life has meaning. Since this bias has not led to wholesale agreement among philosophers, it seems that something irrational has guided philosophers’ answers. Using Denis Diderot’s thought experiment about polyp-humans, I argue that the question of the meaning of life is a by-product of our species’ reproductive strategy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 363-377
Launched on MUSE
2013-02-08
Open Access
No
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