Friday, January 4, 2013

What makes for a life that flourishes.

Rick Roderick, who I have mentioned before and is my current obsession, gave the following quote during a lecture on Nietzsche. He was talking about what issues create a flourishing human life: "Topics ignored by theorists, academics, philosophers, literary critics, and others. Topics we ought to discuss: how good is our food, how warm is our house, how much fun do we have having sex." These topics are emblematic what I find myself concerned with, in no small part because they do go undiscussed.

One of the things that drove me to distraction while studying philosophy was the impossibility that what we were discussing could possibly affect the lives of living human beings. At the same time, most of religious practice strikes me as similarly inconsequential. So much of what religions get criticized for, impossible beliefs, fraudulent founders, metaphysical claims that just don't even make any sense, don't touch the world. In that, the realm of philosophy and the realm of theology is irrelevant to my project; unless and until it touches the concerns of living human beings.

This means that all of the debates about epistemology and ontology, logical necessity and impossibility strike me not just as fruitless, but as a dangerous distraction to the issues that matter.

So let's talk about issues that do touch the world. How warm Is your house? How good is your food? How much fun is your sex life? How is your health? How comfortable are you in your own skin?

People ask what an atheist group could be about and I now have an answer: the welfare of atheists.

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