Exploring the Meaning of Life: An Anthology and Guide

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9780470658796: Exploring the Meaning of Life: An Anthology and Guide

Much more than just an anthology, this survey of humanity's search for the meaning of life includes the latest contributions to the debate, a judicious selection of key canonical essays, and insightful commentary by internationally respected philosophers.

  • Cutting-edge viewpoint features the most recent contributions to the debate
  • Extensive general introduction offers unprecedented context
  • Leading contemporary philosophers provide insightful introductions to each section

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From the Back Cover:

One of philosophy’s traditional purposes was to question the meaning of life, a mission currently enjoying a resurgence of interest among analytic philosophers. As much a guide as it is a reader, this anthology features astutely chosen essays that define the context of this historically core philosophical imperative. Blending classic thinkers with the best contemporary commentary, its thematic structure mirrors the nuanced dialectical terrain of the current debate and extends recognition to the contributions of literary figures.

An extensive general introduction orients the reader to the historical, experiential, and conceptual aspects of the subject, and anticipates likely developments. In addition, each section is introduced by internationally respected philosophers who have themselves made vital contributions to our understanding of the meaning of life, while a wealth of references and suggestions for further reading provides students with a valuable tool for extending their knowledge. Exploring the Meaning of Life: An Anthology and Guide is a comprehensive survey that shepherds readers to the frontiers of modern philosophy at the same time as charting the roads taken to get there.

About the Author:

Joshua W. Seachris (PhD, University of Oklahoma) is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, as well as Grant Administrator for The Character Project, which aims to map the contours of the human character by funding key research in philosophy, psychology and theology. He is the author of peer-reviewed articles on a range of topics in philosophy, including the problem of evil, Confucius and virtue, the meaning of life, and death. His work has appeared in the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Asian Philosophy, Philo, Religious Studies, and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

With Section Introductions by:

John Cottingham (DPhil, Oxford University) is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Reading, Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, University of London, and an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford. His recent titles include On the Meaning of Life (Routledge, 2003), The Spiritual Dimension (Cambridge University Press, 2005), Cartesian Reflections (Oxford University Press, 2008), and Why Believe? (Continuum, 2009). He is editor of the international philosophical journal Ratio.

John Martin Fischer (PhD, Cornell University) is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, where he has held a University of California President's Chair (2006–10). He is the editor of The Metaphysics of Death (Stanford University Press, 1993), and many of his articles on death, immortality, and the meaning of life are collected in his Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Thaddeus Metz (PhD, Cornell University) is Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His work on developing and evaluating theoretical approaches to what makes a life meaningful has appeared in such journals as American Philosophical Quarterly, Ethics, Ratio, Religious Studies, and Utilitas. His book, Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2012.

Garrett Thomson (DPhil, Oxford University) teaches philosophy at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, where he holds the Compton Chair. He is the author of several books, including On Kant (Wadsworth, 2003), On the Meaning of Life  (Wadsworth 2002), Una Introducción a la Práctica de la Filosofía (PanAmericana, 2002), Bacon to Kant (Waveland Press, 2001), On Leibniz (Wadsworth, 2001), and Needs (Routledge, 1987). With Daniel Kolak, he co-edited the six volumes of the Longman Standard History of Philosophy (Longman's Press, 2006). He is chief executive officer of the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace.

Erik J. Wielenberg (PhD, University of Massachusetts-Amherst) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He is the author of Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and God and the Reach of Reason (Cambridge University Press, 2007). 

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