Re: The Quest for the Purpose of Life

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Fri Jan 25 2002 - 21:09:53 MST

Chen Yixiong, Eric wrote:

>>It is a perfectly satisfactory response although it doesn't `answer the
>>question' because there *was* no question, just a string of words that
>>mimicked a question. There are lots of those. Why did the chicken cross the
>>road? Why is a mouse when it spins? Why did the mome rath outgribe?
> Very well then. If life has no purpose, or this question has no meaning, can someone give me good reasons (with sufficient
> justification) why:

The second half of "life has no purpose" is "you are perfectly
free to decide the purpose of your own life and live it". You
may be able to share a purpose with a group of people which
increases (mostly) your ability to accomplish more ambitious
purposes of certain types and increases your survivability

> 1) we still remain alive (or why don't we all just die?)
> 1.1) since we have so many problems, why don't we just wipe everyone out to solve all these problems?

Because wiping everyone out would not solve all of our problems
and would create a great number more.

> 2) why we seek progress
> 3) why we insist on certain things such as freedom

Because without freedom you couldn't define your own purpose and
bring it into fruition to the best of your abilities given your
circumstances. We seek progress because we seek more ability to
define and live even greater purposes. We remain alive because
otherwise we do not remain at all. Something is preferable over
nothing including even the experience of nothing.

> Can someone explain how:
> 1) we develop ethics
> 2) we derive our goals (such as freedom for all)
> 3) we can assume that sentient AI would seek self-preservation?
> 4) we can consider such decisions with great implications such as nanotech and the singularity if we don't consider the purpose of
> life question

There are a number of answers to (1). (2) was touched on
briefly above. (3) is a good question. Presumably an AI would
seek self-preservation because it had or could develop its own
purpose. I am not sure what (4) has to do with the question of

- samantha

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