An analytical approach to the meaning of life and evolution of humankind

References and Further Reading 1. This doubt was because of latent assumptions on the part of many who ask the question about what would have to be the case for life to have a meaning or because they were suspicious that it is incoherent and meaningless. On the other hand, most non-philosophers consider it one of the most important questions, if not the most important question, of human existence.

An analytical approach to the meaning of life and evolution of humankind

A second error is "reductionism," the attempt to interpret all observations by reducing them to a single level of analysis. By this process, for instance, ideas are explained purely in terms of electron flows in the brain; life is defined only in terms of chemical equations; and human culture is described only by biological needs and instincts.

Obviously a person is a physical creature, whose body can be analyzed in terms of physical equations; he also has a life which can be studied in biological terms. However, the biological concept of "life" cannot be reduced to purely physical terms and chemical equations without changing its meaning.

Likewise, "ideas" can be thought of as electrical impulses within the nervous system; but in other contexts, it is meaningful to speak of them as "concepts" and as ways of thinking that are something more than electrical pulses. For instance, a young man does not say to his fiancee, "I love you.

My heart rate is up forty beats a minute, and my adrenaline secretion is up 15 percent. A school, for example, continues to operate in normal fashion when one group of students and faculty has been replaced by another. One danger of reductionism is that it defines the essential nature of a person in physical and biological terms and treats his social and cultural behavior as mere accretions or modifications of this nature.

Each man or woman is seen as a noble beast burdened with social and cultural restrictions. Reductionism fails to take into serious account the fact that at each level of mankind's development, new and more complex syntheses are found which cannot be fully explained by an analysis of their parts at a lower level.

To study humanity as we know it today, we must have meaningful definitions for such concepts as "life," "reason," "personality," "society," and "culture. Anthropology tries to achieve this by accepting multiple models and then showing the interactions between them.

For instance, people's physical characteristics obviously affect the kind of culture they build and the ways in which they relate to fellow human beings. To see this, you need only imagine what the world would be like if even slight changes were made in the body. What types of buildings, furniture, cars, and cities would people build if they were ten feet tall, had a tail, or reached sexual maturation at twenty-four instead of twelve?

What would social relationships be like if there were three sexes? You do not have to depend only on your imagination to see the impact of physical characteristics on the way people view their world.

Anthropological points of view

We all too quickly forget how the outside world looks to a little child, to whom stairs may be mountains and toy counters are wonders beyond his reach. On the other hand, a person's culture influences his physical being. People are remarkably imaginative in molding their bodies to fit their tastes.

An analytical approach to the meaning of life and evolution of humankind

They drill holes into their ears, lips, cheeks, and teeth to support ornaments. They bind heads and feet to change their shapes. They put on glasses and hearing aids to improve their perceptions; and they ingest chemicals of all sorts to alter their minds.

Even diets are influenced in part by ideals of health and beauty. In the West, where slim figures are thought to be attractive, women diet to stay slender; in Togo in the South Pacific, where beauty is measured by bulk, a woman eats to maintain her shape.

Similarly, the interaction of models must be studied in order to determine how a person's biological system affects him psychologically, how his psychological system affects him physically, and how both affect and are affected by his culture. Finally, a comprehensive model of people must go beyond showing the interaction of various systems by which a person can be analyzed and their role in his formation.

It must take into account the individual's responses to the pressures and constraints of these systems and the ways in which he alters and manipulates the systems to gain his own ends. In one sense, the integration of systems lies in each individual and in his responses to the world around him.

The concept of culture Just as each discipline has its own points of view, each also develops its own concepts, which become the tools it uses to analyze data.

A second characteristic or viewpoint of anthropology is its development of the term "culture. It denotes the proper, sophisticated, refined way of acting. Because of their interest in all of humankind, anthropologists have broadened the definition of culture and freed it from value judgments, such as good or bad.

There has been considerable debate about a precise definition of the concept, but for our purposes we can define culture as the integrated system of learned patterns of behavior, ideas, and products characteristic of a society.

Meaning of Life: The Analytic Perspective | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Patterns of learned behavior The first operational part of this definition is "learned behavior patterns. He may note, for example, that American men shake hands in greeting, Mexican men embrace, and the Siriano of South America spit on one another's chests.

Americans have another form of greeting between men and women, described by a Waunana tribal chief as "sucking mouths.

An analytical approach to the meaning of life and evolution of humankind

The natural history of a kiss by E. Royston Pike What's so strange about a kiss? Surely kissing is one of the most natural things in the world, so natural indeed that we might almost ask, what are lips for if not for kissing?

But this is what we think, and a whole lot of people think very differently.The humanistic approach to a meaning in life is faulty because it revolves around erroneous assumptions regarding the evolutionary nature of human existence By acknowledging our evolutionary need to enhance our happiness, we eliminate all need for a pre-ordained or self-imposed meaning in our life.

Still, for many who hold this position, the very beginning of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of what is distinctive about humankind are the consequence .

Summary of Plato’s Theory of Human Nature. October 11, Human Nature-Philosophical, Plato John Messerly. Plato: The Rule of Reason Meaning of Life – Evolution; Meaning of Life – Nature; Meaning of Life – Nihilism; Meaning of Life – Objective; Meaning of Life – Personal;. Humans have always wondered about the meaning of life life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of DNA life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.


Richard Dawkins Darwin's brilliance was in seeing beyond the appearance of. Three approaches characteristic of anthropologists' study of people have been: 1) an emphasis on a holistic theoretical model of man, 2) the use of the concept of culture as an analytical tool, and 3) the use of the method of cross-cultural comparison.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good.

– American Humanist Association Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion.

Darwinism: Survival without Purpose | The Institute for Creation Research