General Question

justinheckman's avatar

Is there an existence of a single goal in life?

Asked by justinheckman (23points) October 8th, 2008

Argument one:
• Ends form either infinite regress or one final end
• If ends form infinite regress then our end is empty and vain
• Our ends are not empty and vain
• Our ends therefore don’t form infinite regress
• Conclusion: there is one final end

Argument two:
• Ends form either infinite regress, one final end or multiple ends
• Not infinite regress
• Not many final ends. If there were many final ends then we wouldn’t be able to choose, but we are able to choose
• Therefore there’s one final end

The one final end is HAPPINESS.
Is the one final goal happiness?

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18 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Putting words next to each other and in columns doesn’t necessarily make them clear or understandable

fireside's avatar

I’d say that your logic may or may not be sound, but your translation most definitely needs work.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Your argument makes no sense, but if you’re asking the one thing that makes people get out of bed each morning to face a new day, I think it’s the anticipation of the possibility of happiness.

justinheckman's avatar

Well the logic used here was from a discussion we had in class and I tried to simplify it as much as possible which makes it hard to understand. Really all I’m asking is how to justify happiness as being the one final end/goal in life? Or if there is one final end? If that makes it clearer in any way.

gailcalled's avatar

@justin: perhaps today’s goal might be to rewrite that question and subtext in a way that we can understand?

fireside's avatar

If I were to paraphrase my understanding of your argument:

There are two choices

Either the “ends” stretch on into eternity, ever expanding
In which case, there is no actual end

Or the “ends” loop back to themselves
In which case, there is no actual end

Therefore, happiness is the actual end?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I don’t think happiness is an achievable goal, because happiness is subjective. Happiness is a by-product of many things. Often what makes you happy, sneaks up on you. Or you can spend you life pursuing what you think will make you happy but it never does. “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert makes the argument that it’s the anticipation of the event, rather than the event itself, that makes a person happy. The example he gives is that you win a dinner for two at an expensive restaurant. Rather than going that night to eat the meal, people derive happiness from planning the event, looking forward to who they’re going with, what they will order, telling people about winning, etc. rather than the actual consumption of the meal.

fireside's avatar

I’m with windex. I was going to say that earlier, but got distracted by the flurry of logic.

justinheckman's avatar

Happiness as in not the name of a feeling. It must be up to the agent, can’t be given to a person, can’t be passive, must be reasonably stable and hard to change. It’s objective and applies to life as a whole. Live life so that in the end you reach happiness. But can we agree on what it is? Happiness is different for the individual, but everyone’s happiness has similar aspects.

augustlan's avatar

Ok, now my head hurts. Again.

fireside's avatar

Contentment is what you are going for.

Happiness may not last, but a content soul allows for that, regardless of where the “Actual end” may lie.

AstroChuck's avatar

Well first off th… wuh?

wundayatta's avatar

Happiness is a choice. Each of us decides whether we will allow ourselves to have it, or not. I choose not. I’d love to learn how to choose to be happy.

arnbev959's avatar

“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.”

—The Dalai Lama

justinheckman's avatar

Living well and doing well are directly related to being happy. People have a broad understanding of what being happy is and everyone relates this to what their final end is. In some cases final ends and happiness are used interchangeably since most assume that happiness is the final end. Happiness is the best thing in one’s life, the most important, and all other targets are dependent upon it. In reaching for happiness actions must be taken and depending on the structure in which these actions are ended the final end is determined. It can be sometimes thought of as the collection of all one’s aims, or the activity in result of the agent’s pursuit of happiness. Therefore happiness is thought of something that is active, and can’t be a result of something passive, for instance wealth. Happiness must be up to the agent, can’t be given to a person, and must be reasonably stable and hard to change.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Most people spend their lives trying to figure out how to take it with them when they go.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Theoretically no, but realistically yes. The major goal is to survive and a number of goals are related to that. Then there is the general goal to achieve happiness. And there are a number of subsidiary or supporting goals associated with that. So beyon surviving, our goal is happiness. Count them as you prefer.

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