Re: The Future and Nihilism (was Re: >H RE: Present dangers to

Brian Manning Delaney (
Sun, 05 Sep 1999 13:07:10 -0700

"J. R. Molloy" wrote:
> Brian Manning Delaney wrote,
[Molloy wrote]:
> >> Logically, existence cannot have a purpose,
> >> because teleology assumes an entity external to
> >> the goal meta-system under consideration.

>> Maybe, but an individual's life can't be
>> argued on these grounds not to have a
>> purpose (since there are things external to it).

> I'd go further than that, and say that an
> individual's life can't be argued not to
> have a purpose _on any grounds whatsoever_,
> because individuals can decide for
> themselves the purpose of their own lives
> -- independent of any external decrees.

Who said we were talking about "decrees"? Who said "external"?

> >> I think Transhumanists become their own worst
> >> enemies in proportion as they fail to transcend
> >> philosophy to embrace science, especially the
> >> science of subjectivity.

> >Why?
> >
> >Seems odd, since science is a subset of philosophy.

> Science a subset of philosophy?
> I don't think so.
> That sounds as preposterous as claiming
> electrical engineering as a subset of alchemy
> -- or astrophysics as a subset of astrology.

"Sounds," not is. (And "sounds" only to someone who doesn't understand philosophy.)

> Science means a system of knowledge subject
> to empirical verification.


> Philosophy means the art of asking the
> wrong questions.

Incorrect. (And close-minded, insulting, and, in truth, bespeaking a bad, if not at all unusual, education.)

Philosophy means, among many other things, subjecting the terms on which science operates themselves to verification. To take your definition, philosophy would try to understand, and validate, what is meant by "knowledge," and "empirical" (and, for that matter, "verification").

Philosophy is very hard, though, and I can certainly understand, and even sympathise with, your reaction formation against it.