On the Meaning of Life

Routledge (2002)
The question "What is the meaning of life?" is one of the most fascinating, oldest and most difficult questions human beings have ever posed themselves. Often linked to the religious issue of whether we are part of a larger, divine scheme, even in an increasingly secularized culture it remains a question to which we are ineluctably and powerfully drawn. In this acute and thoughtful book, John Cottingham asks why the question vexes us so much and assesses some of the most influential attempts to explain it. John Cottingham examines the view, widely held within science, especially since Darwin, that the cosmos is devoid of value and meaning. He asks what is involved in the "disenchantment" of the natural world by science, and argues that, properly understood, modern cosmology and evolutionary theory need not foreclose the possibility of ultimate meaning. He reflects on the paradox that the very impermanence and fragility of the human condition may lend support to the quest for a "spiritual" dimension of meaning. Drawing on the history of philosophy, he also ponders the costs of insisting that any path to meaning must be a narrowly rational one, and he argues that our human need for meaning may properly be approached by drawing on shared traditions of practice, such as social ceremonies and rites of passage, whose value cannot be analyzed in purely intellectual terms.
Keywords Life  Meaning (Philosophy  Philosophy and science  Spiritual life
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2003
Buy the book $1.00 used (97% off)   $12.62 new (54% off)   $24.54 direct from Amazon (9% off)    Amazon page
Call number BD431.C688 2003
ISBN(s) 0415248000   9780415248006   9780415247993  
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 21,395
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Aaron Smuts (2013). The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life. Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

173 ( #21,277 of 1,911,413 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

14 ( #42,070 of 1,911,413 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.