Questions Questions about the meaning of life have been expressed in a broad variety of ways, including the following: What is the meaning of life? What's it all about? Who are we? Philosopher in Meditation (detail) by RembrandtWhy are we here? These questions have resulted in a wide range of competing answers and arguments, from scientific theories, to philosophical, theological, and spiritual explanations. Scientific inquiry and perspectives Many members of the scientific community and philosophy of science communities think that science can provide the relevant context, and set of parameters necessary for dealing with topics related to the meaning of life. Psychological significance and value in life Neuroscience describes reward, pleasure, and motivation in terms of neurotransmitter activity, especially in the limbic system and the ventral tegmental area in particular. Emerging research shows that meaning in life predicts better physical health outcomes. Parapsychology Platonism
Positive psychologyPositive psychology is the branch of psychology that uses scientific understanding and effective intervention to aid in the achievement of a satisfactory life, rather than treating mental illness. The focus of positive psychology is on personal growth rather than on pathology, as is common among other frameworks within the field of psychology. Positive psychology is a relatively new field of academic study with the first positive psychology summit taking place in 1999 and the first International Conference on Positive Psychology taking place in 2003. Overview The "positive" branch complements, without intention to replace or ignore, the traditional areas of psychology. The words, "the good life" are derived from speculation about what holds the greatest value in life – the factors that contribute the most to a well-lived and fulfilling life. Research from this branch of psychology has seen various practical applications. The goal Background Historical roots
Five Fingers of EvolutionIn his talk, Paul Andersen explains the five causes of microevolution. Research one example for each cause in the human population. Use the following population simulator to simulate microevolution: Run the simulation using the default settings. Note the change in gene frequencies due to chance. Reset the simulation and increase the population size to 200. Run the simulation again and note the change in gene frequencies due to chance.
Existence precedes essenceThe idea can be found in the works of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in the 19th century, but was explicitly formulated by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in the 20th century. The three-word formula originated in his 1946 lecture "Existentialism Is a Humanism", though antecedent notions can be found in Heidegger's Being and Time. Sartre's close confidant Simone de Beauvoir also uses this concept in her feminist existentialism to develop the idea that "one is not born a woman, but becomes one". Sartre's view The sartrean claim is best understood in contrast to an established principle of metaphysics[dubious ] that essence precedes existence, i.e. that there is such a thing as human nature, determined by the cosmic order (or a god), laid down by religious tradition, or legislated by political or social authority. Existentialism tends to focus on the question of human existence and the conditions of this existence. See also Notes References External links
NihilismNihilism is also a characteristic that has been ascribed to time periods: for example, Jean Baudrillard and others have called postmodernity a nihilistic epoch, and some Christian theologians and figures of religious authority have asserted that postmodernity and many aspects of modernity represent a rejection of theism, and that such rejection of their theistic doctrine entails nihilism. Forms of nihilism Nihilism has many definitions, and thus can describe philosophical positions that are arguably independent.  Metaphysical nihilism is the philosophical theory that there might be no objects at all—that is, that there is a possible world where there are no objects at all—or at least that there might be no concrete objects at all—so that even if every possible world contains some objects, there is at least one that contains only abstract objects. Epistemological nihilism Mereological nihilism This interpretation of existence must be based on resolution.
TruthTruth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. The commonly understood opposite of truth is falsehood, which, correspondingly, can also take on a logical, factual, or ethical meaning. The concept of truth is discussed and debated in several contexts, including philosophy and religion. Many human activities depend upon the concept, where its nature as a concept is assumed rather than being a subject of discussion; these include most (but not all) of the sciences, law, and everyday life. Definition and etymology An angel carrying the banner of "Truth", Roslin, Midlothian Thus, 'truth' involves both the quality of "faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty, sincerity, veracity", and that of "agreement with fact or reality", in Anglo-Saxon expressed by sōþ (Modern English sooth). All Germanic languages besides English have introduced a terminological distinction between truth "fidelity" and truth "factuality".
Holon (philosophy)A holon (Greek: ὅλον, holon neuter form of ὅλος, holos "whole") is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. The word was coined by Arthur Koestler in his book The Ghost in the Machine (1967, p. 48). Koestler was compelled by two observations in proposing the notion of the holon. The first observation was influenced by Nobel Prize winner Herbert A. Simon's parable of the two watchmakers, wherein Simon concludes that complex systems will evolve from simple systems much more rapidly if there are stable intermediate forms present in that evolutionary process than if they are not present. The second observation was made by Koestler himself in his analysis of hierarchies and stable intermediate forms in both living organisms and social organizations. Koestler also says holons are autonomous, self-reliant units that possess a degree of independence and handle contingencies without asking higher authorities for instructions. A hierarchy of holons is called a holarchy.
The Cronin GroupRecent Publications 284. Assembly and core transformation properties of two tetrahedral clusters: [FeIII13P8W60O227(OH)15(H2O)2]30- and [FeIII13P8W60O224(OH)12(PO4)4]33-, P. 283. 282. 281. 280. 279. 278. 277. 276. 275. 274. 273. 272. 271. 270. 269. 267. 266. 265. 264. 263. 0D to 1D Switching of Hybrid Polyoxometalate Assemblies at the Nanoscale by Using Molecular Control, W. 262. 261. 260. 259. 258. 257. 256. 255. 254. 253. 252. 3D-printed devices for continuous-flow organic chemistry, V. 251. 250. 249. 248. 247. 246. 245. 244. 243. 242. 241. 240. 239. 238. 237. 236. 235. 234. 233.
Søren KierkegaardSøren Aabye Kierkegaard (/ˈsɔrən ˈkɪərkəɡɑrd/ or /ˈkɪərkəɡɔr/; Danish: [ˈsɶːɐn ˈkiɐ̯ɡəɡɒːˀ] ( )) (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology and philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and parables. Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking, and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment. He was a fierce critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Swedenborg, Hegel, Goethe, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel, and Hans Christian Andersen. Early years (1813–1836) Kierkegaard in a coffee-house, an oil sketch by Christian Olavius, 1843 Journals