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Here's my contribution to philosophy:

Quote

Life is a self-sustaining, self-replicating pattern with the ultimate purpose of flourishment.

Life-forms are self-sustaining, self-replicating patterns with the ultimate purpose of flourishment.

vs. Ayn Rand's definition:

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Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action.

Think of the DNA and the brain. Aren't they patterns? The brain - structure of neural connections.

Watch my video on this topic:

 

Edited by Matthew Nielsen

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The relationship between brain or DNA and “pattern” is not “is a”. A brain is an organ composed primarily of neurons and secondarily of glial cells, and it has the potential to do certain things, at least when attached to a living being. DNA is a molecule with a particular structure, just as sucrose is a molecule with a particular structure. DNA likewise has the potential to do certain things, and that potential is less tied to the organism being alive.

In comparing your definitions to Rand’s, I notice that Rand’s are very focused and minimalist: they concisely say what the essential characteristics of “life” are. Your definitions say much more, which is a disadvantage. The purpose of a definition is to reduce the difference between two sets of referents to be distinguished, and befitting its cognitive function, it should be a minimal statement of what makes life distinct from anything else. A definition is not a catalogue of all or most knowledge about an existent.

You expand Rand’s definition of life to include having “the ultimate purpose of flourishment”. Why should this be part of the definition? What, indeed, is flourishment? What necessitates this complication of the definition of life? We can still reach conclusions about rational goals and flurishing even if we don’t complicate the definition of life – see various works of Tara Smith on the topic, who adheres to the classical definition of life.

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I would agree with David.

You may have to limit your definition to human life because your requirements push it in that direction.

Unfortunately there are other problems to sort out in your formulation.

Some human may want to replicate, but some don't and won't and they are alive and have an opportunity and desire to flourish.
Question is if the nature of a human requires that they replicate to be happy.
Some can't have children.
If this premise was true then same sex couples and people that can't have children are doomed to never flourish.
I have not seen data on this but I have not seen epidemic type conditions indicating medication or psychological help for these populations. In other words, there is no indication that lack of replication causes prevention of flourishing.

We will assume that those who want to commit suicide are aberrations, abnormal, diseased.

So a life not worth living would be lived by some who flourish (a contradiction).

Now, it is true that without replication humans would not survive as a race.
Is species survival equivalent to human life or a necessity of human life?
Then you are talking about group life, not an individual life.
If so, you have to explain the needs of both.
How does an individual flourish vs. how does a group flourish.

You talk about patterns of thought and replication.
That implies certain thoughts have to be replicated for the species to survive or flourish. Maybe, not sure.

So bottom line, it needs some work.
 
 

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On 7/24/2019 at 1:59 AM, Easy Truth said:

...

If this premise was true then same sex couples and people that can't have children are doomed to never flourish.
...

We will assume that those who want to commit suicide are aberrations, abnormal, diseased.

...

How does an individual flourish vs. how does a group flourish.

...

You don't have to stretch like that to find the actual problems with his definition. Please calm down before you hurt yourself.

 

On 4/4/2019 at 2:36 PM, Matthew Nielsen said:

Here's my contribution to philosophy:

On 4/4/2019 at 2:36 PM, Matthew Nielsen said:

Life is a self-sustaining, self-replicating pattern with the ultimate purpose of flourishment.

Life-forms are self-sustaining, self-replicating patterns with the ultimate purpose of flourishment.

vs. Ayn Rand's definition:

On 4/4/2019 at 2:36 PM, Matthew Nielsen said:

Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action.

Think of the DNA and the brain. Aren't they patterns? The brain - structure of neural connections.

Watch my video on this topic:

 

 

1: Life forms are not patterns. A tree HAS certain patterns but a tree IS NOT a pattern, itself.

2:

On 4/6/2019 at 2:56 PM, DavidOdden said:

You expand Rand’s definition of life to include having “the ultimate purpose of flourishment”. Why should this be part of the definition? What, indeed, is flourishment? What necessitates this complication of the definition of life?

3: Do DNA strands or brains have patterns (since neither IS a pattern)? Maybe; depending on how you look at them.

I couldn't define what a "pattern" is, off the top of my head, but I know it involves a specific mental function. A DNA strand has an orderly repeating "pattern" if you think of its structure; it might have one in terms of its base pair "code", or it might be a bunch of gibberish that doesn't do anything. A "pattern" can mean anything in the universe that's viewed in a certain way by a thinking being, and absolutely nothing in the absence of such beings.

There's a wealth of deep insights into the nature of life that's summed up by Rand's metaphor that "life is motion", all of which are wiped out by your umbrella term of "pattern".

 

4: It's quite invigorating to see someone honestly trying to improve Objectivism. I know I wasn't very nice to your idea just now, but please don't read any mal intent into it. Your heart was in the right place (as far as I can tell); the idea you ran with was just a little bit crap. Which is nothing to be ashamed of - the vast majority of all ideas are crap! The only way to find a good one is to sift through all the rest first. So I think it'd be great if you tried again.

I'd probably have to tear that idea down too (let's face it - there aren't many things about Objectivism that one can improve) but in all reason and justice it would at least deserve a fair hearing.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Brevity

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