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The third question in the textbook is about what purpose life may have, and how one would respond to another person stating that human life has no more significance than animal life. I would have to agree that human life has no inherent purpose; to me, the fact that humans exist makes no value statement of that existence. However, I would assert that humans have higher reasoning skills which allow them to design their own purpose for their life. Rather than an overarching ultimate purpose, we create our own paths based on what we value. One may value success and monetary gain above all else, and their purpose may be to attain wealth and status. Another may value love and friendship, and their purpose may be to nurture relationships and provide warmth to their circle of friends and family. Personally, my values lead me to desire to protect and advocate for groups who are oppressed for innate qualities (those beyond their control) such as sex, gender, race, religion, or ability. I consider at least part of my purpose to be to fight for the rights of these marginalized groups, and to improve the lives of current and future generations as much as possible.

The discussion of this question within the textbook mostly assumed that I would conclude that human life IS more meaningful, so it added little to change my response. However, it does ponder what is being asked when one asks about the “purpose” of life. In my mind, the question seems to inquire whether there is an inherent purpose given by some deity, or if there is something beyond human minds which determines what the “end goal” is for humanity. I do not have any beliefs in any involved deity (at best, an insignificant and uninvolved creator who started the universe and otherwise might as well not be involved at all), so I cannot assume there is a purpose ordained by something beyond human minds.

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