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The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction (2007)

by Terry Eagleton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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564739,995 (3.54)7
We have all wondered about the meaning of life. But is there an answer? And do we even really know what we're asking? Eagleton suggests that the problem of the meaning of life arose with modernity. He looks at the cultural and philosophical reasons for this.

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» See also 7 mentions

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100 EAG 1
  luvucenanzo06 | Aug 16, 2023 |
Aristotle's Work is Classic. It might give the reader, a framework, systematic approach to life. His Essay on Friendship, still stands true. Aristotle's work on Ethics, Politics is relevant to this day.

With regards to Meaning of Life.

Terry doesn't cover, theological traditions or religious tradition's answers.

He explores philosophical traditions responses, specifically Wittgenstein.

For a layman, or average Joe, Wittgenstein might not be pragmatic for his life.

The Author, misses out Religious Traditions-- Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, which all have tackled this important question.

Terry's writing doesn't seem to be organized

I would not recommend this.

Deus Vult,
Gottfried ( )
  gottfried_leibniz | Jun 25, 2021 |
Meaning and Skepticism
This short and well written book achieves it's goal. Terry Eagleton produced a clear and well balanced essay about the meaning of life, familiarizing the reader with the different concepts, even with the ones that reject the question. The philosophy's and theology's insights are considered and related with the main question. The reader can grasp the most important facets of the problem, considering the challenges posed by this enterprise. This short introduction makes it happen! ( )
  MarcusBastos | Jul 9, 2017 |
This book has a funny title, but it is actually quite good. It was written by respected literary critic Terry Eagleton, whose lucid writing style is always entertaining and informative. At only 100 pages, it's a rather slim volume, but it manages to cover a lot of ground, discussing heavyweights like Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Beckett, and the king of doom, Schopenhauer.I underlined this passage, which seems to summarize Eagleton's conclusion. I agree with what he says: "The meaning of life is less a proposition than a practice. It is not an esoteric truth, but a certain form of life. As such, it can only really be known in the living...The meaning of life is not a solution to the problem, but a matter of living in a certain way. It is not metaphysical, but ethical. It is not something separate for life, but makes it worth living..."And this is my favorite part of the book: "Eternity lies not in a grain of sand but in a glass of water. The cosmos revolves on comforting the sick. When you act in this way, you are sharing in the love which built the stars. To live in this way is not just to have life, but to have it in abundance."When I was a really naive student in college, I was often frustrated with philosophy, particularly metaphysics, not only because it was so hard, but because it always seemed to find itself at an impasse--desolate, subject-centered, cold. Kant was right to call it strewn with "wreckage" even as he tried to salvage it in his own form of reason. But when Eagleton says that the meaning of life is more ethical than metaphysical, he addresses the "problem of existence" with a kind of warmth and humility. In ethics, we can talk of love, of practice and not just theory, of the 'other', of the imperative to live and not only to think. ( )
1 vote m.gilbert | Feb 12, 2011 |
Excellent, will make you think, first one of the Oxford Very Short Introductions I've read, plan to continue
  robertshaw | Apr 25, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Eagletonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Atkins, PhilipCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snyder, JayNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Philosophers have an infuriating habit of analysing questions rather than answering them, and this is how I want to begin.
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We have all wondered about the meaning of life. But is there an answer? And do we even really know what we're asking? Eagleton suggests that the problem of the meaning of life arose with modernity. He looks at the cultural and philosophical reasons for this.

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