Noûs 47 (2):745-772 (2013)

Authors
Guy Kahane
Oxford University
Abstract
The universe that surrounds us is vast, and we are so very small. When we reflect on the vastness of the universe, our humdrum cosmic location, and the inevitable future demise of humanity, our lives can seem utterly insignificant. Many philosophers assume that such worries about our significance reflect a banal metaethical confusion. They dismiss the very idea of cosmic significance. This, I argue, is a mistake. Worries about cosmic insignificance do not express metaethical worries about objectivity or nihilism, and we can make good sense of the idea of cosmic significance and its absence. It is also possible to explain why the vastness of the universe can make us feel insignificant. This impression does turn out to be mistaken, but not for the reasons typically assumed. In fact, we might be of immense cosmic significance—though we cannot, at this point, tell whether this is the case
Keywords Significance  Value  The Cosmic Standpoint  Metaethics  Extinction  God  Meaning of Life  Nihilism
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Reprint years 2014
DOI 10.1111/nous.12030
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References found in this work BETA

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