The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World [NOOK Book]

Overview

If consciousness is "the hard problem" in mind science -- explaining how the amazing private world of consciousness emerges from neuronal activity -- then "the really hard problem," writes Owen Flanagan in this provocative book, is explaining how meaning is possible in the material world. How can we make sense of the magic and mystery of life naturalistically, without an appeal to the supernatural? How do we say truthful and enchanting things about being human if we accept the fact that we are finite material ...
See more details below
The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$18.99 List Price

Overview

If consciousness is "the hard problem" in mind science -- explaining how the amazing private world of consciousness emerges from neuronal activity -- then "the really hard problem," writes Owen Flanagan in this provocative book, is explaining how meaning is possible in the material world. How can we make sense of the magic and mystery of life naturalistically, without an appeal to the supernatural? How do we say truthful and enchanting things about being human if we accept the fact that we are finite material beings living in a material world, or, in Flanagan's description, short-lived pieces of organized cells and tissue?Flanagan's answer is both naturalistic and enchanting. We all wish to live in a meaningful way, to live a life that really matters, to flourish, to achieve <I>eudaimonia</I> -- to be a "happy spirit." Flanagan calls his "empirical-normative" inquiry into the nature, causes, and conditions of human flourishing <I>eudaimonics</I>. <I>Eudaimonics</I>, systematic philosophical investigation that is continuous with science, is the naturalist's response to those who say that science has robbed the world of the meaning that fantastical, wishful stories once provided.Flanagan draws on philosophy, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and psychology, as well as on transformative mindfulness and self-cultivation practices that come from such nontheistic spiritual traditions as Buddhism, Confucianism, Aristotelianism, and Stoicism, in his quest. He gathers from these disciplines knowledge that will help us understand the nature, causes, and constituents of well-being and advance human flourishing. <I>Eudaimonics</I> can help us find out how to make a difference, how to contribute to the accumulation of good effects -- how to live a meaningful life.
Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

Daniel Goleman

"Owen Flanagan explores the questions that matter most to us -- life's magic, mystery, and meaning -- in the most engaging, even entertaining, style. By expanding philosophy from a Eurocentric bias to include views from the East,
Flanagan finds fresh answers to perennial questions. The Really Hard Problem is a delight."-- Daniel Goleman, Psychologist, and Author of Social Intelligence

Joshua Greene

"Science tells us that we're imperfect products of biological trial and error, reconstituted remnants of exploded stars, and likely to be gone in the time it takes the Universe to make a cup of coffee. Some people find this unsettling, but Flanagan thinks we can handle it. With an open mind, good humor,
encyclopedic knowledge, and philosophical tenacity, Flanagan tackles the Big Question: Can we find Meaning and Truth at the same time? Great reading for Homo sapiens."--Joshua Greene, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

Alison Gopnik

"Ironically, contemporary philosophy almost never asks the philosophical questions that matter most deeply to our everyday lives. In fact those meaning of life questions have been deliberately avoided. Now, Owen Flanagan brings his trademark clarity, breadth of scientific knowledge, and wit to bear on questions that have seemed too big for analytic philosophy -- what is the relation between religion and science, and what can we do to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives in a material world defined by scientific inquiry? He includes an exceptionally well-informed and thoughtful account of the Buddhist tradition, and empirical findings from 'positive psychology', as well as philosophical arguments. This book is a distinctive and compelling combination of skeptical rationality and gentle affirmation of the enchantment of the everyday."--Alison Gopnik, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262262750
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/13/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,402,712
  • File size: 481 KB

Meet the Author

Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. He is the author of Consciousness Reconsidered (MIT Press), The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them, and other books.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    Winner of the Trifecta

    Wonderfully insightful. Joy to Read. Boldly inventive. Flanagan has a knack, and this certainly is not the first book in which he has exhibited it, of taking the field of professional philosophy in new directions, and inviting the educated layperson to join in the journey. If you are looking for an intelligent way of being spiritual, without falling from a cliff in California or choking your neurons on religious fundamentalism, this book is the book to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)