Most people in 2016 who are paying attention accept the materialist perspective, that is that the scope of the universe is made up of physical phenomena that follow natural laws.

For the brunt of human history we were either living close to the earth, or later caught up in metaphysical questions which offered answers to the purpose of our existence. I'd argue, however, that at least some of the human race is now moving into a post-spiritual world.

I wouldn't argue that materialism negates ethics, morals and the like, but what I think it does do is negate any non-transient, objective purpose for being alive. What this means is that people are de facto free to live their lives any way they like within the confines of biological and social norms.

What I'm curious about then is if any philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, past or present, have written on finding meaning in this materialist world that's devoid of objective purpose?

1 Answer 1


Jean-Paul Sartre had a very strict view when it came to this. As an existential Philosopher he laid a lot of the ground work when it came to how many view the world. He says "life has no meaning" he thinks that its up to us to make our own. Also its important to look into Kierkegaard to get a better understanding of where Sartre's views on existentialism come from to get a better understanding of his perspective and thus his role in it.

Modern Philosophers

Before I go talk about modern Philosophers its hard not to remind you to look at how David Hume's teachings of Empiricism influence how philosophers today think. A large portion of philosophers today will link back to Hume's teachings as a reason they think how they do on the topic, like Massimo Piglucci. However in the interest of keeping this answer short I leave you with John Cottingham a modern Philosopher who does a lot of work on the topic.

  • This answer drops some intriguing names, but doesn't really answer the question. Keeping answers short isn't really a requirement on the philosophy SE, if anything it is discouraged (short answers should be posted in the comments). It would be great if you could develop. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 16:19
  • Thanks for your input I am completely new to this and frankly have no idea what i'm doing. In what ways do you think i could have been more topical do you think I should have directly addressed Objective Purpose? I fear that when answering a philosophy question stating any views or beliefs is incorrect because the "Truth" in philosophy is based off of your value of the arguments and the logic of the function function you calculate or reason them with, and because my reasoning might be different from yours in your eyes I would be wrong that's why I answer vaguely only referencing others. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 16:48
  • P.S I read your bio and I must say that I am more than impressed and strive to be what you already are, How do I do it? Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 16:55
  • 1
    Study hard and read lots of books. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 20:15
  • I thought it was a good answer, although haven't looked into the recommendations yet
    – Cdn_Dev
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 2:57

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