5.6 Conclusions: Getting to The Real

Whether we realize it or not, metaphysics dictates much about how we choose to live our lives.  Our understanding of what is real informs our understanding of what is important.

For example, if you were convinced that the materialists/physicalists are correct, then you would likely not be too concerned about any religion promising to secure for you a positive afterlife and instead focus on finding the most happiness possible in this life.  If, on the other hand, you tend toward idealism, you might realize that the spiritual dimension of life is what matters most.  If you are a determinist, you might well have a different understanding of crime and punishment than would a libertarian.  You might better recognize that those who engage in wrongdoing have been conditioned to do so by past experiences.  On the other hand, if you lean toward libertarian freedom, you would likely be more inclined to lay blame on the free choice of the individual to commit a crime.

Perhaps the most deeply personal question of metaphysics is why you exist at all.  This is not “how you came into being” (I think most of us understand that!) but why you are here, now.  What is this thing called consciousness?  Why are you conscious?  Are all things in the universe conscious, or is consciousness the privilege of only a few? What is it “like” to experience the world as you experience it?  The sheer mystery of consciousness remains one of philosophy’s most profound questions.  Perhaps tomorrow morning, when you wake you might pause a moment just to appreciate its gifts.


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PPSC PHI 1011: The Philosopher's Quest by Daniel G. Shaw, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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