A project of The Nature Institute
Biology Worthy of Life
Quote of the Week
(July 26, 2021)
To demand a definition of “meaning” — that is, to ask for the meaning of “meaning” — is actually to run away from it. Meaning is where we start from. We cannot define it because meanings are what we employ in order to define things. To ask what “meaning” means is like trying to prove the validity of the logic we use in proofs. As human beings we must — and do every day — simply wake up to meaning. If we possess cognitive capacities, even as infants, it can only be because these capacities are themselves products of the world’s play of meaning — call it the logos if you wish — through which you and I have come into being.
So asking about the meaning of “meaning” does not send us in a circle. It returns us to our origin and to the immediately given character of the world that produced the deer and bee and us.
(from “How Biologists Lost Sight
of the Meaning of Life”)
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