Darth Wong wrote:Define "existential meaning".
It's easier to define "existential comfort," which is directly related: the feeling of living a fulfilled and meaningful life. That's what Nehamas and his contemporaries are referring to.
We're talking about moral codes, and moral codes are simply behavioural rules. They're not there to give you meaning in your life; they're there to tell you what you can and can't do.
Saying this more won't make it any more true. Definitions are flexible, but yours is one rarely employed. But I'll bite for the sake of keeping the discussion going: if you want to conceptualize morality as external rules imposed upon an individual, then what would you call internal rules which guide action?
Logical arguments make up 100% of the parts of the western philosophy canon which is concerned with establishing that something is logical. Illogical arguments merely lower the signal to noise ratio.
Clarify. If by "logical" you mean that conclusions follow from premises, then most every great philosopher (whether he's an Analytic or a Continental) is completely logical. Plato's conclusions follow as well from their premises as they do for Aristotle. If, instead, you mean that "logical arguments" are only those that can be fit into some formal model (and you'll have to account for which model you're talking about and why), then we may run into some problems.
I have to back up the statement that if it doesn't appear to exist in our empirical reality, then we can ignore it?
Obviously. An empirical understanding of the world is one particular lens through which to understand reality; but there are competing lenses, such as phenomenology, religion, and chaotic reality theory.
I have to back up the idea that we should not be making decisions in objective reality based on metaphysical nonsense? I can back it up with Occam's Razor, but you've already established that you don't think much of logic.
I'm surprised you'd invoke a nominalist argument in favor of science. But you can do what you please. The "razor" argument, in its modern meaning (which I assume you take it to mean), is informal logic at best. I'd like to hear your defense anyway, however.
Darth Wong wrote:By the way Legault, I hope you realize that it's rather obvious that you intend to insist on injecting metaphysical and religious thinking into this discussion, even though the whole point of it, as stated at the outset, is to discuss secular morality. You're now at the point where you're demanding that I "back up" my rejection of that which is unscientific: a classic anti-science dog-whistle.
All philosophy rests on metaphysics, so of course I'm going to bring it up. Your reaction isn't surprising, though; this is exactly the point where bad atheists (scientismists) tend to get defensive (and irrational), insisting that their scientific conception of the world requires no justification. What, are you really going to call me religious for asking you provide a rational account for your worldview?