The Meaning of Life

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Edition: 4th
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2017-06-26
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $53.32

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Featuring twenty-five insightful selections by prominent philosophers, literary figures, and religious thinkers, The Meaning of Life: A Reader, Fourth Edition, serves as an ideal core text for courses on the meaning of life and introduction to philosophy courses where the topic is emphasized. In Part I the articles defend the view that without faith in God, life has no meaning or purpose. In Part II the selections oppose this claim, defending instead a nontheistic, humanistic alternative--that life can have meaning even in the absence of theistic commitment. In Part III the readings address whether the question of the meaning of life is itself meaningful. The fourth edition adds selections reflecting Buddhist and Confucian thought and also features a new Part IV on the end of life, raising issues about how our perspectives on death affect our understanding of the meaning of life.

Author Biography

The late E.D. Klemke was Professor of Philosophy at Iowa State University, where he taught for more than twenty years.

Steven M. Cahn is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books. Most recently, he authored Religion Within Reason (2017) and coauthored Happiness and Goodness (2015). Dr. Cahn is the editor of Exploring Ethics, Fourth Edition (OUP, 2016) and The World of Philosophy (OUP, 2016).

Table of Contents

*=New to this Edition
Preface to the Fourth Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Introduction. The Question of the Meaning of Life, E. D. Klemke
1. Leo Tolstoy: My Confession
2. Philip L. Quinn: The Meaning of Life According to Christianity
3. Emil L. Fackenheim: Judaism and the Meaning of Life
* 4. Christopher W. Gowans: The Buddha's Message
* 5. Henry Rosemont, Jr.: The Confucian Way
6. Arthur Schopenhauer: On the Sufferings of the World
7. Bertrand Russell: A Free Man's Worship
8. Moritz Schlick: On the Meaning of Life
9. Albert Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus
10. Kurt Baier: The Meaning of Life
11. Paul Edwards: The Meaning and Value of Life
12. Richard Taylor: The Meaning of Life
13. Thomas Nagel: The Absurd
14. Joel Feinberg: Absurd Self-Fulfillment
15. E. D. Klemke: Living Without Appeal: An Affirmative Philosophy of Life
16. John Wisdom: The Meanings of the Questions of Life
17. Robert Nozick: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
18. Susan Wolf: Meaning in Life
* 19. Christine Vitrano: Meaningful Lives
* 20. Thomas Nagel: Death
* 21. Bernard Williams: The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality
* 22. John Martin Fischer: Why Immortality Is Not So Bad 2
* 23. Samuel Scheffler: The Afterlife
* 24. Harry G. Frankfurt: How the Afterlife Matters
* 25. Susan Wolf: The Significance of Doomsday
About the Contributors

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