A: I think that the idea of moral universality after God is a bit of a joke.
B: Don’t you think that God is a bit of a joke?
A: God’s pretty serious. *makes serious face*
B: What about a moral universality…period?
A: Do I think it’s serious? No, of course not. I already said that.
B: I was just taking God completely out of the equation…I don’t really know what is meant by “after God”.
A: I mean after things are no longer for the sake of God. It’s usually associated with the rise of scientific thinking, so the last 3 or 4 hundred years I guess. Pretty over.
B: Do you you agree that if there is consciousness there has to be something possessing that consciousness? in other words, consciousness can’t precede existence?
A: Precede in what sense? In time, then it would depend what time was. In formula, then it would depend on what consciousness is, and possibly on time as well.
B: I don’t really mean in a chronological sense. I mean that “there has to be something possessing that consciousness”…and by consciousness I mean awareness in an axiomatic sense. My point is that God is usually thought of as a universal consciousness without a metaphysical form…Descartes said, “I think therefore I am” and is that different than saying, ” I am therefore I think”? Some people ask, “What is the meaning of life”…maybe it is better to ask, “What is the meaning of MY life.?”
A: What’s the meaning of “life”? What’s the meaning of “my”? What’s the meaning of “is”? What’s the meaning of “meaning”? And, maybe more importantly, what’s the meaning of “ask”?
B: Part of the Wikipedia definition of life is “a process that distinguishes organisms from non-living objects, such as non-life, and dead organisms. Living organisms are capable of growth and reproduction, some can communicate and many can adapt to their environment through changes originating internally.” It also says that “there is no universal definition of life. To define life in unequivocal terms is still a challenge for scientists.” …but maybe we can define it enough to discuss it.
A: Maybe, but this kind of account of life is biological life, life as a determinately present scientific object, fixed in its structure. It’s unclear what relation that sense of life has to the sense of life I use when I say “My life”. Certainly I don’t mean something about biology, I’m probably talking about my experiences, my attitudes, my actions, in the past present and future. Right?
B: …aren’t your experiences, attitudes, actions…(consciousness?) dependent upon you existing biologically and also on the nature of your metaphysical being?…2 arms….no antlers…brain…thumbs…if you are paralyzed or not…etc.
A: Maybe, but I don’t see why we can assume that. We only know about biology because we were already conscious.
[Thanks to my former guitar student and current philosopher at York University, Tristain Laing, for engaging me in this discussion. I don't think it particularly matters who is A and who is B.]