The Oxford Handbook of Meaning in Life

(ed.)
New York: Oxford University Press (2022)
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Abstract

This volume presents thirty-two essays on a wide array of topics in modern philosophical meaning in life research. The essays are organized into six parts. Part I, Understanding Meaning in Life, focuses on various ways of conceptualizing meaning in life. Among other issues, it discusses whether meaning in life should be understood objectively or subjectively, the relation between importance and meaningfulness, and whether meaningful lives should be understood narratively. Part II, Meaning in Life, Science, and Metaphysics, presents opposing views on whether neuroscience sheds light on life’s meaning, inquires whether hard determinists must see life as meaningless, and explores the relation between time, personal identity, and meaning. Part III, Meaning in Life and Religion, examines the relation between meaningfulness, mysticism, and transcendence, and considers life’s meaning from both atheist and theist perspectives. Part IV, Ethics and Meaning in Life, examines whether meaningful lives must be moral, how important forgiveness is for meaning, the relation between life’s meaningfulness and procreation ethics, and whether animals have meaningful lives. Part V, Philosophical Psychology and Meaning in Life, compares philosophical and psychological research on life’s meaning, explores the experience of meaningfulness, and discusses the relation between meaningfulness and desire, love, and gratitude. Part VI, Living Meaningfully: Challenges and Prospects, elaborates on topics such as suicide, suffering, education, optimism and pessimism, and their relation to life’s meaning.

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Iddo Landau
University of Haifa

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