David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Forum 43 (4):395-403 (2012)
Some people feel threatened by the thought that life might have arisen by chance. What is it about “chance” that some people find so threatening? If life originated by chance, this suggests that life was unintended and that it was not inevitable. It is ironic that people care about whether life in general was intended, but may not have ever wondered whether their own existence was intended by their parents. If it does not matter to us whether one's own existence was intended, as will be hypothesized, then why should it matter whether there was some remote intent behind the creation of the first unicellular organism(s) billions of years ago? I will discuss three possible scenarios by which life might have originated. I will then argue that, in regard to whether one’s individual life can be meaningful, it does not matter whether life was intended or arose by chance. If complex life was unintended and is rare in this universe, this is not a reason to disparage life, but a reason to appreciate and value our existence.
|Keywords||Origin of Life Chance Contingency Unintended Meaning of Life Rarity Rare Earth|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Stuart A. Kauffman (1995). At Home in the Universe the Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity.
Susan Wolf (1997). Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life. Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (1):207.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Brooke Alan Trisel (2007). Judging Life and Its Value. Sorites (18):60-75.
Alan Hájek (2003). Conditional Probability Is the Very Guide of Life. In Kyburg Jr, E. Henry & Mariam Thalos (eds.), Probability is the Very Guide of Life: The Philosophical Uses of Chance. Open Court. pp. 183--203.
Roger White (2007). Does Origins of Life Research Rest on a Mistake? Noûs 41 (3):453–477.
Carlo Leget (1997). Living with God: Thomas Aquinas on the Relation Between Life on Earth and "Life" After Death. Peeters.
Jim Stone (1994). Advance Directives, Autonomy and Unintended Death. Bioethics 8 (3):223–246.
Ovidiu-Sorin Podar (2009). La Vie En Tant Que Vie. Studia Phaenomenologica 9:315-330.
Hallvard Lillehammer (2009). Reproduction, Partiality, and the Non-Identity Problem. In M. A. Roberts & D. T. Wasserman (eds.), Harming Future Persons. Springer Verlag. pp. 231--248.
Ephraim Katzir (1989). The Meaning of Life as Represented in the Life Sciences and the Jewish Heritage. Kaplan Centre, University of Cape Town.
Thaddeus Metz (2014). Life Worth Living. In Alex Michalos (ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-being Research. Springer. pp. 3602-05.
Added to index2012-11-02
Total downloads333 ( #7,585 of 1,925,793 )
Recent downloads (6 months)72 ( #3,486 of 1,925,793 )
How can I increase my downloads?