Philosophical wisdom and practical advice for overcoming the problems of middle age.
How can you reconcile yourself with the lives you will never lead, with possibilities foreclosed, and with nostalgia for lost youth? How can you accept the failings of the past, the sense of futility in the tasks that consume the present, and the prospect of death that blights the future? In this self-help book with a difference, Kieran Setiya confronts the inevitable challenges of adulthood and middle age, showing how philosophy can help you thrive.
You will learn why missing out might be a good thing, how options are overrated, and when you should be glad you made a mistake. You will be introduced to philosophical consolations for mortality. And you will learn what it would mean to live in the present, how it could solve your midlife crisis, and why meditation helps.
Ranging from Aristotle, Schopenhauer, and John Stuart Mill to Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as drawing on Setiya’s own experience, Midlife combines imaginative ideas, surprising insights, and practical advice. Writing with wisdom and wit, Setiya makes a wry but passionate case for philosophy as a guide to life.
Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:
18 September 2018
Introduction 1 1 A Brief History of the Midlife Crisis 6 2 Is That All There Is? 29 3 Missing Out 54 4 Retrospection 77 5 Something to Look Forward To 103 6 Living in the Present 127 Conclusion 155 Acknowledgments 161 Notes 163 Index 183
Kieran Setiya is professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Reasons without Rationalism (Princeton) and Knowing Right from Wrong. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and son.
Reviews for Midlife: A Philosophical Guide
Midlife teaches a lesson about midlife: it's sometimes best to go with the flow. --Joshua Rothman, New Yorker Written with charming simplicity and wry humor, Midlife is a philosophically rich source of what might be called 'the higher life hacks'. . . . . A work of disarming wisdom. --Jim Holt, author of Why Does the World Exist? A concise, entertaining and humane guide through life's most difficult territory. --Simon Ings, The Spectator As someone who has suffered from a midlife crisis since the age of seven, I found Kieran Setiya's Midlife: A Philosophical Guide both instructive and consoling. If it fails to slim the waistline or stave off death, it nevertheless proves, like a trusted spouse or pet, a very companionable guide on the way to the void. It may even make you, as it did me, see the virtue of being forty-two. --Joshua Ferris, author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour Written with urgency and wit, Midlife has a great mix of philosophy, personal narrative, and practical wisdom. Highly recommended. --Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of Doubt: A History A delightful amalgam of self-help and intellectual inquiry. --The Economist