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Jay Allison. Dalai Lama. Janet W. Adrian McKinty. Sam Harris. Dave Robinson. James Hollis. Derrick Jensen. Hannah Arendt. William B. Michael Dunn. The ultimate fate of the universe, and implicitly humanity, is hypothesized as one in which biological life will eventually become unsustainable, such as through a Big Freeze , Big Rip , or Big Crunch.

Animal Welfare in Different Human Cultures, Traditions and Religious Faiths

Theoretical cosmology studies many alternative speculative models for the origin and fate of the universe beyond the Big Bang theory. A recent trend has been models of the creation of 'baby universes' inside black holes , with our own Big Bang being a white hole on the inside of a black hole in another parent universe.

The nature and origin of consciousness and the mind itself are also widely debated in science. The explanatory gap is generally equated with the hard problem of consciousness , and the question of free will is also considered to be of fundamental importance. These subjects are mostly addressed in the fields of cognitive science , neuroscience e. Reductionistic and eliminative materialistic approaches, for example the Multiple Drafts Model , hold that consciousness can be wholly explained by neuroscience through the workings of the brain and its neurons , thus adhering to biological naturalism.

Animal Lives and Human Ethics

On the other hand, some scientists, like Andrei Linde , have considered that consciousness , like spacetime, might have its own intrinsic degrees of freedom, and that one's perceptions may be as real as or even more real than material objects. Explaining the process of free will through quantum phenomena is a popular alternative to determinism. Based on the premises of non-materialistic explanations of the mind, some have suggested the existence of a cosmic consciousness , asserting that consciousness is actually the "ground of all being". In hopes of proving the existence of these phenomena, parapsychologists have orchestrated various experiments, but successful results might be due to poor experimental controls and might have alternative explanations.

The most common [ quantify ] definitions of meaning in life involve three components. Thus, a sense of significance permeates every dimension of meaning, rather than stands as a separate factor. Although most psychology researchers consider meaning in life as a subjective feeling or judgment, most philosophers e. The philosophical perspectives on the meaning of life are those ideologies which explain life in terms of ideals or abstractions defined by humans.

Plato , a pupil of Socrates , was one of the earliest, most influential philosophers. His reputation comes from his idealism of believing in the existence of universals. His theory of forms proposes that universals do not physically exist, like objects, but as heavenly forms. In the dialogue of the Republic , the character of Socrates describes the Form of the Good.

Introduction to Sociology/Print version

His theory on justice in the soul relates to the idea of happiness relevant to the question of the meaning of life. In Platonism, the meaning of life is in attaining the highest form of knowledge, which is the Idea Form of the Good, from which all good and just things derive utility and value.

Aristotle , an apprentice of Plato , was another early and influential philosopher, who argued that ethical knowledge is not certain knowledge such as metaphysics and epistemology , but is general knowledge. Because it is not a theoretical discipline, a person had to study and practice in order to become "good"; thus if the person were to become virtuous , he could not simply study what virtue is , he had to be virtuous, via virtuous activities.

To do this, Aristotle established what is virtuous:. Every skill and every inquiry, and similarly, every action and choice of action, is thought to have some good as its object. This is why the good has rightly been defined as the object of all endeavor [ Yet, if action A is done towards achieving goal B, then goal B also would have a goal, goal C, and goal C also would have a goal, and so would continue this pattern, until something stopped its infinite regression.

Aristotle's solution is the Highest Good , which is desirable for its own sake. It is its own goal. The Highest Good is not desirable for the sake of achieving some other good, and all other "goods" desirable for its sake. This involves achieving eudaemonia , usually translated as "happiness", "well-being", "flourishing", and "excellence".

What is the highest good in all matters of action? To the name, there is almost complete agreement; for uneducated and educated alike call it happiness, and make happiness identical with the good life and successful living. They disagree, however, about the meaning of happiness. Antisthenes , a pupil of Socrates , first outlined the themes of Cynicism, stating that the purpose of life is living a life of Virtue which agrees with Nature. Happiness depends upon being self-sufficient and master of one's mental attitude; suffering is the consequence of false judgments of value, which cause negative emotions and a concomitant vicious character.

The Cynical life rejects conventional desires for wealth , power , health , and fame , by being free of the possessions acquired in pursuing the conventional. The world equally belongs to everyone, so suffering is caused by false judgments of what is valuable and what is worthless per the customs and conventions of society.

Aristippus of Cyrene , a pupil of Socrates , founded an early Socratic school that emphasized only one side of Socrates's teachings—that happiness is one of the ends of moral action and that pleasure is the supreme good; thus a hedonistic world view, wherein bodily gratification is more intense than mental pleasure.

Cyrenaics prefer immediate gratification to the long-term gain of delayed gratification; denial is unpleasant unhappiness. Epicurus , a pupil of the Platonist Pamphilus of Samos, taught that the greatest good is in seeking modest pleasures, to attain tranquility and freedom from fear ataraxia via knowledge, friendship, and virtuous, temperate living; bodily pain aponia is absent through one's knowledge of the workings of the world and of the limits of one's desires.

Combined, freedom from pain and freedom from fear are happiness in its highest form. Epicurus' lauded enjoyment of simple pleasures is quasi-ascetic "abstention" from sex and the appetites:. By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. It is not by an unbroken succession of drinking bouts and of revelry, not by sexual lust, nor the enjoyment of fish, and other delicacies of a luxurious table, which produce a pleasant life; it is sober reasoning, searching out the grounds of every choice and avoidance, and banishing those beliefs through which the greatest tumults take possession of the soul.

Christine M. Korsgaard on the Moral Standing of Animals, Human Beings, and Persons (AUDIO ONLY)