Existentialism Discussion

“Whether what we do now will matter in a million years could make the crucial difference only if its mattering in a million years depended on its mattering, period. But then to deny that whatever happens now will matter in a million years is to beg the question against its mattering, period; for in that sense one cannot know that it will not matter in a million years whether(for example) someone now is happy or miserable, without knowing that it does not matter, period.” Thomas Nagel seems to be having fun with this word “matter” in this quote and in this essay. We spoke about it today in our conference, but I’d like you to write a solid paragraph about what you think he is trying to say about whether things–our feelings, our actions, etc.– matter or not, and why. What exactly does it mean for something to matter, and why do you think this is a problem for him in the first place worth exploring? Be sure to give me a concrete example so I can follow your logic.

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