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Life and Meaning surveys a variety of Philosophical answers to the question, 'What makes life worth living?' By collecting readings from a wide range of philosophical history it gives the various perspectives on the value and meaning of life. Aspects of life which appear to make it meaningless 9death, suffering, randomness) are seen in the light of their long and varied history in philosophical literature and are subjected to careful scrutiny. The texts chosen here pose these and related issues and offer various responses.
By careful selection and helpful editorial introduction Life and Meaning gives essential texts which provide the background to contemporary enquiries. Is self-realization a coherent ideal? Does it mean being true to our original nature (Rousseau) or to our potential as 'rational animals' (Aristotle)? Should we live according to our desires and in pursuit of happiness (Mill)? Should we appeal to a nature or 'essence' be rejected as bad faith?
Part I: Has Life a Meaning?.
1. Vanity of Vanities: Ecclesiastes.
2. My Confession: Leo Tolstoy.
3. The Purpose of Man's Existence: Kurt Baier.
4. Has the Question about the Meaning of Life any Meaning? Rudolf Wohlgennant.
5. The Meaning of Life: Richard Taylor.
6. The Absurd: Thomas Nagel.
7. On the Meaning of Life: Moritz Schlick.
8. What is There in Horse Racing? John Wisdom.
Part II: Death, Suffering and the Value of Life:.
9. We Have Nothing to Fear in Death: Lucretius.
10. Death: Mary Mothersill.
11. Why We Should not be Biased towards the Future: Derek Parfit.
12. The Vanity and Suffering of Life: Arthur Schpenhauer.
13. Murder and a World without Human Beings: G. E. Moore.
14. The Sanctity of Life: Jonathan Glover.
15. What is Wrong with Killing People? R. E. Ewin.
16. A Covenant for the Ark? Peter Singer.
Part III: Nature and Society:.
17. The Tree of Knowledge: Genesis.
18. The Origin of Inequality: Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
19. Of the Natural Condition of Mankind as Concerning their Felicity, and Misery: Thomas Hobbes.
20. Man and the State: Aristotle.
21. Nature: John Stuart Mill.
Part IV: Pleasure, Happiness and Self-Realization:.
22. Pleasure and Desire: Plato.
23. The Difference of Quality I Pleasures and of What Sort of Proof the Principle of Utility is Susceptible: John Stuart Mill.
24. The Experience Machine: Robert Nozick.
25. How Should a Man Live? Aristotle.
26. My Station and its Duties: F. H. Bradley.
27. Freedom and Bad Faith: Jean-Paul Sartre.
28. Homo Ludens: J. Huizinga.
29. Moral Tradition: John Keres.