Thursday, March 17, 2022

Meaning and beauty

  1. Only intelligent beings and things produced by them have objective meaning.
  2. Something that is objectively meaningless is not objectively beautiful.
  3. The earth is objectively beautiful.
  4. The earth is not intelligent.
  5. So, the earth is produced by an intelligent being.


Walter Van den Acker said...

I am not confident of premises 1 and 3.

IanS said...

Objective meaning and objective beauty worry me.

When I was a little boy, I would sometimes ask, “What does X mean?” My father, who had Freudian leanings, would answer, “What does it mean to you?”

As for beauty, isn’t it proverbially “in the eye of the beholder”?

IanS said...

Are (1) and (2) intended as stipulations? (For example, (2) might be paraphrased like this: a thing may be beautiful in some ordinary sense, but it can’t be ‘objectively’ beautiful unless it also has objective meaning.)

If so, the argument seems to beg the question. One could not accept (3) unless one already thought that the earth had objective meaning, and hence that it was created by an intelligent being.

If not, independent definitions of objective meaning and beauty are required. Then you need to argue for (1), (2) and (3) in terms of those definitions.

Alexander R Pruss said...


I suspect the really important philosophical concepts cannot be defined. But sometimes we can give axioms about them.