In No kidding, I am a cum laude philosopher, and so can you! it turned out that finally I got a philosophy diploma. That said, from now on I am officially qualified to think on the big questions of life. For instance, I can find out new arguments and concepts and I can answer (or at least fine-tune) questions like: ‘what is the meaning of life?’. (The best analysis of this question for me was Robert Nozick‘s Philosophy and the Meaning of Life in the last chapter of his book Philosophical Explanations, for an official intro see Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
So here is a short analysis and an answer of mine to this most important philosophical question from the point of view of a life extension supporter:
1. premise: this question could be answered only if it is not about the general meaning of all life, but the particular meaning of individual human lives.
2. analysis: let’s fill the question up to show the variables in it: ‘what is the meaning of an individual human life (x) for an individual (y)?’
3. argument: The question could be answered if x=y: the same individual x is looking for a meaning for x’s particular life as this is how the question is usually addressed in the non-philosophical language (philosophers sometimes call it ‘ordinary language’, but I dislike the term ‘ordinary’).
4. analysis: so convert the question formula further: ‘what is the meaning of x’s life for x?’
5. it is logically allowed to use personal pronouns as free variables instead of ‘x’ to make the question more personal and rhetoric: ‘what is the meaning of my life for me?’ or ‘what is the meaning of your life for you?’
6. background idea: so far philosophers largely examined and emphasized the meaning and significance of the term ‘meaning’ in the expression ‘meaning of life’ while not much explanation focused on the ‘life’ part of the question. Maybe ‘meaning’ has a secondary role in the question compared to ‘life’. Maybe ‘meaning’ does not do much in the question, just reinforces the importance of ‘life’.
7. The term ‘meaning’ is an identity function in the ‘meaning of life’ expression that gives back the argument as an output, so it has the form f(x) =x, meaning(life)=life, that’s why it is redundant in the expression ‘the meaning of life’. /Other type of argument: in the expression ‘the meaning of life’ ‘meaning’ means ‘life’, so it is redundant and the term ‘meaning of life’ translates as ‘life of life’ (Warning for cons: that is the weakest point of the argument)/
8. Based on the interpretation of the function meaning() in point 7. the ‘meaning of x’s life is x’s life’
9. The particular answer of the ‘what is the meaning of my life for me?’ question is: ‘The meaning of my life is my life.’
10. ‘The meaning of my life is my life.’ answer is a logical tautology, that is always true in every circumstances and that’s why it is an empty statement.
11. In order to give an ’empirical/substantive’ answer to this question and a substantive form of the statement in 10. it is allowed to highlight the quantitative, ‘duration’ meaning of ‘life’ in the expression ‘the meaning of life’.
12. Based on 11. we got the formula ‘The meaning of my life is to live my life as long (durable) as it is possible’
13. In order to give an empirical interpretation of the modal term ‘possibility’ it is interpreted as a technological possibility so translates directly into the question of a healthy, robust lifespan extension technology that can yield partial immortalization.
14. Thereby the final formula of the answer: ‘The meaning of my life is to live my life as long as it is technologically extendable’