Rights, Values, (the) Meaning in/of Life and Socrates’s ‘How Should One Live?’: A Rationally-Unquestionable Interpretation.


This paper expands on another which focussed on Socrates’s question: ‘How should one live?’. The present paper also focusses on the ‘meaning of life’ and ‘meaning in life’ issues, and more on rights. To fully rationally answer Socrates’s question, we need to answer the epistemic question: ‘How can one know how one should live?’. This paper attempts to answer both. And knowing how one should live fundamentally involves knowing what values one should live by. This includes which rights one should have and which rights others should have. So one’s values include how one should treat all persons (and (other) animals, the environment and so on.) All this relates to what one finds meaningful in life and the meaning or point of one’s life. In sum, all the notions in this paper’s title are interrelated. The issue of rationality is crucial here. Just one example here (qualified later) is that our rationality gives us cognitively meaningful notions. ‘Rationality’ here only concerns knowledge, e.g., ways to acquire scientific knowledge, and meta-knowledge concerning values. No values or rights as such are rational or knowledge. However:- Many factors are required for human rationality to exist and develop, e.g., life, mental health and evidence-based education. Human rationality’s need for those factors, hence their value to rationality, is rationally-unquestionable – and that applies to the practised values prescribing the prescribable factors. With this, there are rationally-unquestionable rights to those factors. Those prescribable factors require certain interrelated epistemic, moral, social, political, legal, educational and other values/rights to be practised. This implies a pro-rationality values-theory with one obligatory, general end – a uniquely rationally-unquestionable end. This end provides the basis for answering Socrates’s question as rationally (correctly) as is possible for values/rights. That end is fundamentally epistemic, namely ‘Be pro-rationality’, yet the theory has deeply-humanly-meaningful, universal applications. It has implications for current and all possible moral, social, political, legal, educational, environmental etc issues. E.g., the theory shows that human rationality crucially requires love and certain other emotions, health-care, education and upbringing. These require certain right to be respected and practised. With this, the paper discusses affection, free speech, journalism, psychotherapy, political and sexual consent, responsibilities, freedom and government. The theory’s general sub-values prescribe much prescribed by some other theories, e.g., broad and deep knowledge-acquisition (in certain areas), rationally-critical thinking, non-sexism, non-racism, general types of liberalism, holistic flourishing, happiness, unselfishness and fairness. However, all other values-theories lack pro-rationality theory’s maximum possible rational-unquestionability, internal coherence and coherence with rationality. The theory encourages (the right to) total freedom in a-rationality areas, areas irrelevant to its obligatory end. The theory inherently requires its advocates to be (self )critical, rationally viewing the theory’s necessarily human-suggested specifics as often fallible or unavoidably approximate. So the theory is a work-in-progress.

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