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Life, Death, and Meaning : Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions - David Benatar

Life, Death, and Meaning

Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions

By: David Benatar (Editor)


Published: 1st September 2004
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Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better to be immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? SinceLife, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions first appeared, David Benatar's distinctive anthology designed to introduce students to the key existential questions of philosophy has won a devoted following among users in a variety of upper-level and even introductory courses. While many philosophers in the 'continental tradition'_those known as 'existentialists'_have engaged these issues at length and often with great popular appeal, English-speaking philosophers have had relatively little to say on these important questions. Yet, the methodology they bring to philosophical questions can, and occasionally has, been applied usefully to 'existential' questions. This volume draws together a representative sample of primarily English-speaking philosophers' reflections on life's big questions, divided into six sections, covering (1) the meaning of life, (2) creating people, (3) death, (4) suicide, (5) immortality, and (6) optimism and pessimism. These key readings are supplemented with helpful introductions, study questions, and suggestions for further reading, making the material accessible and interesting for students. In short, the book provides a singular introduction to the way that philosophy has dealt with the big questions of life that we are all tempted to ask.

This book is far and away the best collection of essays in print to address analytic existentialism. In addition to coherently organized, excellent papers that address unique issues, the editor has provided introductory summaries of the papers, study questions about them, and suggestions for further reading. Philosophical Papers For laypersons, especially those struggling as undergraduates with annoying, seemingly irrelevant concepts made doubly obscure by crusty old philosophers, this collection of insightful, well-written essays will certainly be refreshing. Metapsychology Online Reviews

Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. 1
The Meaning of Lifep. 17
The Meaning of Lifep. 19
The Absurdp. 29
'Nothing Matters'p. 41
Philosophy and the Meaning of Lifep. 49
Philosophy and the Meaning of Lifep. 63
The Meanings of Lifep. 91
Suggestions for Further Reading on the Meaning of Lifep. 113
Creating Peoplep. 115
Whether Causing Someone to Exist Can Benefit This Personp. 117
Why Not Let Life Become Extinct?p. 123
On Becoming Extinctp. 135
Why It Is Better Never to Come into Existencep. 155
Suggestions for Further Reading on Creating Peoplep. 169
Deathp. 171
How to Be Dead and Not Care: A Defense of Epicurusp. 173
The Misfortunes of the Deadp. 189
Annihilationp. 199
Some Puzzles About the Evil of Deathp. 221
Pre-Vital and Post-Mortem Non-Existencep. 241
Why Death Is Not Bad for the One Who Diedp. 265
Suggestions for Further Reading on Deathp. 285
Suicidep. 287
Of Suicidep. 289
Suicide and Dutyp. 297
The Morality and Rationality of Suicidep. 305
Suggestions for Further Reading on Suicidep. 319
Immortalityp. 321
Immortality: A Letterp. 323
The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortalityp. 331
Why Immortality Is Not So Badp. 349
Suggestions for Further Reading on Immortalityp. 365
Optimism and Pessimismp. 367
Optimismp. 369
The Consolations of Optimismp. 383
On the Sufferings of the Worldp. 393
Suggestions for Further Reading on Optimism and Pessimismp. 403
Indexp. 405
About the Contributorsp. 409
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780742533684
ISBN-10: 0742533689
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 472
Published: 1st September 2004
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.4  x 3.2
Weight (kg): 0.64