Getting up in the morning (was: Re: The Quest for the Purpose of Life)

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 19:01:12 MST

At 09:49 AM 1/28/02 -0800, Lee wrote:

>> LIFE creates and identifies purposes.

>purpose requires an entity
>capable of /desire/ and /free will/; such an entity must be able to
>form goals that support its desires, and can therefore choose its
>own purposes.

This is silly. Yes, humans find the concept and word `purpose' especially
useful because we desire, intend, etc, but it's borrowed or adapted or
exapted from telic or goal-oriented or task-oriented phenomena that are
palpably *already out there* in the universe prior to us, prior to

A kidney gets built into a developing phenotype because that arrangement of
organized cells does a particular job acceptably well within a metabolizing
entity. It obviously has a *function*, then; and it would be perverse to
claim that it doesn't have a *purpose*.

That purpose was not *intended* by the evolutionary accidents and sievings
that built the kidney's constructional and operating code; there was no
outside mind *desiring* it. But each kidney serves a crucial purpose.

Of course that is very different, as most of us have agreed, from making
the category mistake of leaping to the pseudo-question: what is *Life's*

And that realization in turn does not and cannot solve or abolish the
question `Why do I get up in the morning?' In my case, the answer is
perfectly, painfully obvious: my kidneys are getting clapped out as I age,
not serving their purpose as well as they once did, so I get up not just
once but several times in the morning... to take an urgent piss.

Damien Broderick
[not taking the piss] [as an Aussie would say]

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