Assignment 1

1553 words 7 pages
Final Exam

Read the following short essay, and then write a 3-5 page response (12-point font, double-spaced, normal margins, no cover page, no binders). Your response should do the following three things: (1) state what the main conclusion of the essay is; (2) state what the most important premises (including sub-conclusions) are—i.e., state which premises are most important if the argument is to rationally convince its audience; (3) evaluate the quality of the argument, giving detailed reasons to justify your evaluation. For purposes of evaluation, assume that the speaker is a contemporary Canadian philosopher and the audience is a group of students in Introduction to Philosophy.

The Meaning of Life
Zoltan Zut

What is the
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Thus, the sense of the question “What is the meaning of life?” is still unclear.

There is at least one more way in which to understand “the meaning of life.” Sometimes we ask things like “what does it mean when the sky above is blue but there is a dark line all the way around the horizon?” or say “I wonder what the meaning of my ex‟s new message on the answering machine might be.” The word „meaning‟ in this context means something much more like “information” or “upshot.” You can wonder what information the sky provides without thinking there is a purpose behind it, and you can wonder what the upshot of a message might be without failing to understand the sentence making it up. In this sense, asking what the meaning of life is would come to something like asking what information life gives us, what it teaches. Presumably, since the meaning of life is supposed to be universal, comforting, and useful to make your life feel more meaningful, the question “What is the meaning of life?” should be understood, on the present way of thinking, as asking “What information does life give everyone which is (if understood and accepted) universally comforting and good for making life feel more meaningful?” If this question were answered, it would, I think, be a good answer to the question “What is the meaning of life?”

Religions often claim that the information life gives us is that we will be comforted and feel our lives meaningful if only we will


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