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Linguistics & The Meaning of Life

Philosophy project 2010.

Amy Todd

on 16 June 2010

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Transcript of Linguistics & The Meaning of Life

Linguistics and the meaning of life So what does it all mean? Philosophers have been trying to provide an answer
to the meaning of life for centuries. Multiple explanations have been conceived Nihilism Cynicism Cyrenaicism Stoicism Utilitarianism Pragmatism Existentialism Absurdism theism non-theistic buddhism the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy Monty Python's the meaning of life
Yet no one theory is viewed by all as correct. What is linguistics? Linguistics is the study of language.
It is typically divided into two subdivisions:
The study of language structure
or grammar the study of meaning
or semantics We will use the Study of Semantics
to analyze the Meaning of Life. Before determining the to the meaning of
life, we must first decipher the of the question. answer meaning Meaning is interpreted and affected by a person's beliefs and experiences. The meaning of any abstract idea can therefore vary from person to person. for example: What do you think of when you hear the following word? BAD What emotions are associated with it? What memories spring to mind? Is what you think of the word the
same as others around you? most likely your exact definition of the word was not the same as others' in the class. If everyone has a personal interpretation for all abstract ideas, how can we determine an exact definition for the BAD MEANING OF LIFE? Personal Interpretation The Meaning of the Meaning of Life Before answering the question of the Meaning of Life,
we must first determine the exact meaning of the question. The textbook divides the question of the Meaning of Life into 3 subquestions: the meaning of the universe the meaning of human life the meaning of myself Why is there something
rather than nothing at all? What is the meaning or purpose
of there being a universe at all? Why do humans exist at all? Do human beings as a species
exist for some purpose
or as part of a larger plan? Is there a point to us being on this planet at
this point in the history of the universe
- or is it a fluke? What is the meaning of my life? Is there any meaning to my life
that will remain after my death? Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) "Whereof one cannot
speak, thereof one
must be silent." Wittgenstein believed that everything that can be thought can also be said. Therefore the limits of language are also the limits of thought. Metaphysical problems arise because of the attempt to say what cannot be said. In other words, these problems come from not understanding the logic of our language. Wittgenstein on the Meaning of Life So how do Wittgenstein's teachings relate to the Meaning of Life?
What are you thinking right now? The Meaning of Life is a metaphysical question.
All metaphysical questions stem from misunderstandings in language.
The Meaning of Life is a misunderstanding of language.
There is no answer to the meaning of life because the question itself is meaningless. What do you interpret the Meaning of Life question to be asking? Discussion Questions 1. wittgenstein once said "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world."
What do you think he meant by this, and do you agree or disagree? 2. should the meaning of life be all-encompassing?
or is it okay to have multiple answers to the meaning of life? 3. "Most of the propositions and questions of philosophers arise from our failure to understand the logic of our language... And it is not surprising that the deepest problems are in fact not problems at all."

Do you agree that metaphysical problems stem from trying to cross
boundaries of language?
Are they actually problems?
if so, can these problems be solved?
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