Add this site to your Home Screen by opening it in Safari, tapping and selecting "Add to home screen"

Our panel of 88 professional philosophers has responded to

Question of the day

There is no obvious logical if any connection between your premise ('Aren't we ultimately living each day just waiting until the day we die?' which is really an assertion: 'We are ultimately living each day just waiting until the day we die'), and your conclusion, again a rhetorical, question: 'What is the point of life?' The assertion here is 'There is no point of life.' Should this be 'There is no point to life?', I wonder. What is the difference?

Compare this with, 'The passengers were just living each day just waiting until they got to port' and 'There is no point in getting to port.' Or again, 'The soldiers were ultimately living each day just waiting until the war was over' and 'There is no point to the war.'

It is rather the reverse of what you suggest, in most cases. The fact that this is the one thing everyone is waiting for does not rob its opposite (life) of any point at all.

Besides, it is not true that the soldiers were "ultimately" living each day "just" waiting until the war ended' - they were also fighting their hearts out. And the passengers were not just living each day waiting until they got to port. Perhaps they were playing bridge, drinking gin, going to a dance, playing shuffleboard, quarreling, trying to get to the Captain's table, and so on.

People engaging in the activities of ordinary life are not just sitting around doing nothing at all except waiting for their own deaths. This might be true of very elderly people, but only perhaps because they find it very difficult to do anything else. But mostly people do a lot. They go shopping, they make lunch, they go on to, they work, they look at people on the bus, they love and hate their families, they love their dogs, and so on. They are not "ultimately" or any other way "just" waiting until the day they day.

The premise is in any case false, I think. "Waiting" is a very definite psychological state, and most people do not wait for death, although the proportion who do may increase with age - it is not even faintly true for children. "Waiting" means your attention is directed to the expectation of the thing you are waiting for, for example the appearance of the dentist, but it does not stop you reading the interesting year-old magazines in the waiting room.

Furthermore, life is a very abstract concept. What is the point of space, or time, or life, or causality? The better question is, what is the point of living life as you do? There are definite answers to this question. I hope my family goes on well, I hope my students improve and learn philosophy well, and I hope that the election comes out alright. And so on.