Questions like “what is the meaning of life?” or “purpose of life?”, are perhaps only defined as questions because we need to structure thought in some way or another. When we think of questions, we usually understand them as related and part of some answer. The questions mentioned are different from our usual definition of what questions are, as they have no answer. They are nonetheless useful as philosophical tools that move the mind towards the borders of the unknown.
What I think of when I use the image of moving the mind towards the borders of the unknown, can perhaps best be explained by using words and concepts more familiar. The scientific method producing the temporary truths that guides us in the reality we are forced to relate to, is a tool with foundation and root in the hypothesis. So what is in truth the hypothesis? It is a claim of knowing the unknown, looking past borders and limits presently existing. For what need would testing and examination of result be, if the hypothesis related to other than faith, belief and imagination.
When asking questions, the answer is the preferred part of a duality. In other words, answers have meaning only in relation its alternatives. The least amount of alternatives needed is one, as in yes/no or on/off to show examples. This brings us to the essential issue. Do we know anything at all, or can we even know anything at all, about something other than life? Is there any known alternatives to life, that give reason to claim dependency of purpose of meaning?
Perhaps I understand the topic and discussion wrong, and meaning or purpose of life is directed at the individual level only. Even so, the individuality itself contradicts any answer beyond arguments founded on philosophical thought.
It would be helpful to see a better question and perhaps a worthy answer as well.
As to posing questions mentioned in a better way, in hope of receiving better answers, the search would be similar to finding the beginning and end of infinity. Quality of question, and value of answer are subjective qualities that reveal this being something only relevant as philosophical thoughts. Finding questions and answers based on willingness to accept, is something I would strongly recommend not trying at a math test to name one area.
When Sam Harris says questions mentioned are badly posed, it could be that he thinks in terms of the confusing mess I have tried to communicate. Badly posed, not as in it could be posed differently. But badly posed as in asking questions that can not be answered. Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, and knows very well that the mind and our perception of reality is the works of a mind that is adaptive. Adaptive as it functions according to the environment it relates to.
If I claimed the purpose and meaning of life was not to die. Would that answer give satisfaction?