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The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The phrase "the meaning of life" for many seems a quaint notion fit for satirical mauling by Monty Python or Douglas Adams. But in this spirited Very Short Introduction, famed critic Terry Eagleton takes a serious if often amusing look at the question and offers his own surprising answer.

Eagleton first examines how centuries of thinkers and writers--from Marx and Schopenhauer to Shakespeare, Sartre, and Beckett--have responded to the ultimate question of meaning. He suggests, however, that it is only in modern times that the question has become problematic. But instead of tackling it head-on, many of us cope with the feelings of meaninglessness in our lives by filling them with everything from football to sex, Kabbala, Scientology, "New Age softheadedness," or fundamentalism. On the other hand, Eagleton notes, many educated people believe that life is an evolutionary accident that has no intrinsic meaning. If our lives have meaning, it is something with which we manage to invest them, not something with which they come ready made. Eagleton probes this view of meaning as a kind of private enterprise, and concludes that it fails to holds up. He argues instead that the meaning of life is not a solution to a problem, but a matter of living in a certain way. It is not metaphysical but ethical. It is not something separate from life, but what makes it worth living--that is, a certain quality, depth, abundance and intensity of life.

Here then is a brilliant discussion of the problem of meaning by a leading thinker, who writes with a light and often irreverent touch, but with a very serious end in mind.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

About the Author

Terry Eagleton is John Edward Taylor Professor of English at the University of Manchester. His recent publications include Holy Terror (2005); The English Novel: An Introduction (2004); After Theory (2003); Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002); The Idea of

Culture (2000); The Illusions of Postmodernism (1996); and Literary Theory: An Introduction (2nd edition, 1996).

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199532179
Author:
Eagleton, Terry
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Terry
Subject:
Religious
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Psychology of Religion
Subject:
Life
Subject:
Meaning (philosophy)
Subject:
General
Subject:
Philosophy/Religion
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Copyright:
Series:
Very Short Introductions
Publication Date:
20080631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
12 b/w halftones
Pages:
128
Dimensions:
6.87x4.44x.30 in. .25 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » Oxford Very Short Introductions
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General

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