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.
E. D. Klemke (Iowa State University)
, Steven M. Cahn (Dr.
, CUNY Graduate Center)
Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication:
4th Revised edition
31 August 2017
Further / Higher Education
*=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 PART ONE. THE THEISTIC ANSWER 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 PART TWO. THE NONTHEISTIC ALTERNATIVE 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 PART THREE. QUESTIONING THE QUESTION 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 * PART FOUR. THE END OF LIFE * 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 * 23. Samuel Scheffler: The Afterlife * 24. Harry G. Frankfurt: How the Afterlife Matters * 25. Susan Wolf: The Significance of Doomsday About the Contributors:
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).
Reviews for The Meaning of Life
The Meaning of Life is the preeminent anthology of classic and contemporary readings on the meaning of life and the philosophy of death. It offers a rich and profound discussion of some of the most fundamental questions of humanistic inquiry. What was already a stellar collection of essays is now even better in this new edition. --Lawrence Nolan, California State University, Long Beach The Meaning of Life, Fourth Edition, includes in one affordable volume all of the most important and influential writings on the meaning of life. --Erik Wielenberg, DePauw University