Can Naturalists Believe in Meaning?

By Sean Carroll | October 7, 2011 12:56 pm

I have my answer (“yes, but not by finding meaning `out there’ in the world”), which I hope to write about more soon. In the meantime, listen to a great conversation between philosophers Owen Flanagan and Alex Rosenberg from Philosophy TV. “What there is, and all there is, are bosons and fermions.”

Both discussants have written really good books. Rosenberg recently came out with The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions, while I very much enjoyed Flanagan’s earlier book The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Natural World.

Empirically, of course, naturalists often lead very enjoying and fulfilled lives. Here’s a great profile of newly minted Laureate Brian Schmidt, in his capacity as a cook and winemaker as well as an astronomer. And here’s Bob Kirshner, writing to the NYT from Friendship, Maine, about the meaning of dark energy.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Philosophy
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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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