I don't even agree that continued existance is a purpose.
How about survival?
Rocks survive. Is that their purpose?
What's wrong with teleology?
Teleology is the idea that there is some ultimate purpose or goal that
nature is being pulled toward. That is the future state determines our
present state. Which is messy. I have recently being toying with an even
weirder idea that has me confused, though.
If the world is this probability field I have been talking about and if the
past contains a degree of uncertainty only slightly less that the
uncertainty of the future, then there are many possible futures that could
flow from each present moment. However there is only one set of possible
pasts that could lead to the present. Thus you could make a case that the
present determines the past not the other way around. Which rather suggests
that the future may determine the present. But I have not really figured
this out yet and it is a little like having bees in your head.
How about life? Do you not see purpose in the behavior of living creatures?
Maybe it would help if you spelled out your definition of purpose. The only
one that makes sense to me is that it occurs only in organisms sufficiently
complex to have access to memory. It is the experiences of the past that
lead them to repeat actions in the present that have produced reinforcement
in the past. It is not so much the anticipation of a future state as the
memory of a past one that guides action.
I am ok with this kind of definition. But it would limit purpose to
sufficiently advanced organisms and thus purpose would be something that
emerges from nature not something that is there from the start.
No problem with the wind. But a tree? It instinctively reaches for sunlight,
the purpose of that instinct being to aid its growth and survival. Right?
The growth of a tree is the result of the biochemical interactions with
sunlight. No memory is required; no other factors are need to explain it.
Purpose is intrinsic to life. As for beauty, who knows what its influence my
be? There's plenty of evidence that beauty plays a role in mating among the
higher animals. Otherwise, what's a peacock's display for?
Beauty is in the eye of the behold not the thing beheld. You seem to find
beauty to be a kind of transcendental thing and here you are equating it
with peacock lust. Or with reinforcement.
> They are important to us but they are emergant properties of us which are
not fruitfully projected to
> the rest of nature.
If they emerge from nature why are they not natural? Are we supernatural
Sure purpose is natural in the way I describe it above but I don't see it
being something that "Nature" has. Sufficiently advanced creatures maybe but
not the whole enterprise. I also think that since, we seem to have it, we
need to get clear on what it is and get on with it.
But again if you could spell out what you mean by purpose that would help.
Usually people get purpose all mucked up with intentionality, consciousness,
divine purpose and other mushy terms that cause lots of problems because
they are so hard to pin down.
And the mushiest of all if supernatural. I have no idea what that term is
supposed to mean.