David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Oxford University Press (2007)
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, stimulating, and quirky enquiry, 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. "If you were to ask what provides some meaning in life nowadays for a great many people, especially men, you could do worse than reply 'football.' Not many of them perhaps would be willing to admit as much; but sport stands in for all those noble causes--religious faith, national sovereignty, personal honor, ethnic identity--for which, over the centuries, people have been prepared to go to their deaths. It is sport, not religion, which is now the opium of the people."
|Keywords||Life Meaning (Philosophy|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Buy the book||$4.55 new (82% off) $19.78 direct from Amazon (21% off) Amazon page|
|Call number||BD431.E14 2007|
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.
Citations of this work BETA
Nathan Eric Dickman (2009). Anxiety and the Face of the Other: Tillich and Levinas on the Origin of Questioning. Sophia 48 (3):267-279.
Graham McFee (2012). Olympism and Sport's Intrinsic Value. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 6 (2):211-231.
Kelley Johnson (2013). The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Framework for Ethical and Inclusive Practice? Ethics and Social Welfare 7 (3):218-231.
Christopher Michaelson, Michael G. Pratt, Adam M. Grant & Craig P. Dunn (2014). Meaningful Work: Connecting Business Ethics and Organization Studies. Journal of Business Ethics 121 (1):77-90.
E. Tonkens (2009). Waar blijven de intellectuelen? De publieke rol van wetenschap in tijden van valorisatie en internationale peer review. Wijsgerig Perspectief 49 (4):24-31.
Similar books and articles
Kathleen O'Dwyer (forthcoming). Camus' Challenge: The Question of Suicide (Is Life Worth Living). Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
Xize Deng (2011). On the Problem of the Meaning of Life in “Chinese Philosophy”. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (4):609-627.
Joshua Seachris (2009). The Meaning of Life as Narrative. Philo 12 (1):5-23.
E. D. Klemke (ed.) (2000). The Meaning of Life. Oxford University Press.
A. L. Herman (1991). Jivacide, Zombies and Jivanmuktas: The Meaning of Life in the Bhagavad Git. Asian Philosophy 1 (1):5 – 13.
Julian Baggini (2005). What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life. Oxford University Press.
Brooke Alan Trisel (2007). Judging Life and Its Value. Sorites (18):60-75.
Terry Eagleton (2008). The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads84 ( #14,956 of 1,100,758 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #80,742 of 1,100,758 )
How can I increase my downloads?