Life, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions / Edition 2

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Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better to be immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Since Life, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions first appeared, David Benatar's distinctive anthology designed to introduce students to the key existential questions of philosophy has won a devoted following among users in a variety of upper-level and even introductory courses. While many philosophers in the 'continental tradition'_those known as 'existentialists'_have engaged these issues at length and often with great popular appeal, English-speaking philosophers have had relatively little to say on these important questions. Yet, the methodology they bring to philosophical questions can, and occasionally has, been applied usefully to 'existential' questions. This volume draws together a representative sample of primarily English-speaking philosophers' reflections on life's big questions, divided into six sections, covering (1) the meaning of life, (2) creating people, (3) death, (4) suicide, (5) immortality, and (6) optimism and pessimism. These key readings are supplemented with helpful introductions, study questions, and suggestions for further reading, making the material accessible and interesting for students. In short, the book provides a singular introduction to the way that philosophy has dealt with the big questions of life that we are all tempted to ask.

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Editorial Reviews

May 2010 Metapsychology Online Reviews
The selection of papers is excellent....Benatar has done a first rate job in fulfilling, and when necessary balancing, all those requirements and has produced an exceptionally good, interesting and informative collection of papers. Students and educated laypersons who read through the anthology will become familiar with some of the best and most representative works in the field which include many of the most central and important arguments on the issues discussed....This collection should prove to be an important contribution to the development of the discussion on Analytic Existentialism.
Metapsychology Online Reviews, March 2010 - Iddo Landau
Students and educated laypersons who read through the anthology will become familiar with some of the best and most representative works in the field which include many of the most central and important arguments on the issues discussed. While the articles are interesting and of a very high academic level, they are not too technical, too long, or otherwise difficult for students or the educated public to follow. Although there are already some anthologies that discuss the meaning of life, none relate the topic to questions of immortality, death, suicide, or the benefit of coming into existence as this one does.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442201705
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/16/2010
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 472
  • Sales rank: 510,982
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David Benatar is professor of philosophy at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Introduction Part 3 Chapter 1: The Meaning of Life Chapter 4 The Meaning of Life Chapter 5 The Absurd Chapter 6 'Nothing Matters' Chapter 7 Philosophy and the Meaning of Life Chapter 8 Philosophy and the Meaning of Life Chapter 9 The Meanings of Life Part 10 Chapter 2: Creating People Chapter 11 Whether Causing Someone to Exist Can Benefit This Person Chapter 12 Why Not Let Life Become Extinct? Chapter 13 On Becoming Extinct Chapter 14 Why it is Better Never to Come into Existence Part 15 Chapter 3: Death Chapter 16 How to be Dead and Not Care: A Defense of Epicurus Chapter 17 The Misfortunes of the Dead Chapter 18 Annihilation Chapter 19 Some Puzzles About the Evil of Death Chapter 20 Pre-Vital and Post-Mortem Non-Existence Chapter 21 Why Death is not Bad for the One who Died Part 22 Chapter 4: Suicide Chapter 23 Of Suicide Chapter 24 Suicide and Duty Chapter 25 Suicide: A Qualified Defence Part 26 Chapter 5: Immortality Chapter 27 Immortality: A letter Chapter 28 The Makropulos case: reflections on the tedium of immortality Chapter 29 Why Immortality is Not So Bad Chapter 30 From here to eternity: Is it good to live forever? Part 31 Chapter 6: Optimism and Pessimism Chapter 32 Optimism Chapter 33 The Consolations of Optimism Chapter 34 The sad truth: optimism, pessimism, and pragmatism Chapter 35 On the Suffering of the World

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