The Meaning of Life (4th edition)

E. D. Klemke; Steven M. Cahn

The Meaning of Life is the preeminent anthology on the topic. Featuring twenty-five insightful selections by prominent philosophers, it serves as an ideal core text for courses on the meaning of life and introduction to philosophy courses where the topic is emphasized. In Part I the articles defend the view that without faith in God, life has no meaning or purpose. In Part II the selections oppose this claim, defending instead a nontheistic, humanistic alternative-that life can have meaning even in the absence of theistic commitment. In Part III the readings address whether the question of the meaning of life is itself meaningful. A new Part IV on the end of life raises issues about how understanding death affects our understanding of the meaning of life.


*New to this Edition
Preface to the Fourth Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Introduction E.D. Klemke: The Question of the Meaning of Life
Part One
The Theistic Answer
Chapter 1 Leo Tolstoy: My Confession
Chapter 2 Emil L. Fackenheim: Judaism and the Meaning of Life
Chapter 3 Philip L. Quinn: The Meaning of Life According to Christianity
Chapter 4 Christopher W. Gowans: The Buddha's Message*
Chapter 5 Henry Rosemont, Jr.: The Confucian Way*
Part Two
The Nontheistic Alternative
Chapter 6 Arthur Schopenhauer: On the Sufferings of the World
Chapter 7 Bertrand Russell: A Free Man's Worship
Chapter 8 Moritz Schlick: On the Meaning of Life
Chapter 9 Albert Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus
Chapter 10 Kurt Baier: The Meaning of Life
Chapter 11 Paul Edwards: The Meaning and Value of Life
Chapter 12 Richard Taylor: The Meaning of Life
Chapter 13 Thomas Nagel: The Absurd
Chapter 14 Joel Feinberg: Absurd Self-Fulfillment
Chapter 15 E.D. Klemke: Living Without Appeal: An Affirmative Philosophy of Life
Part Three
Questioning the Question
Chapter 16 John Wisdom: The Meanings of the Questions of Life
Chapter 17 Robert Nozick: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
Chapter 18 Susan Wolf: Meaning in Life
Chapter 19 Christine Vitrano: Meaningful Lives*
Part Four
The End of Life
Chapter 20 Thomas Nagel: Death*
Chapter 21 Bernard Williams: The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality*
Chapter 22 John Martin Fischer: Why Immortality is Not so Bad*
Chapter 23 Samuel Scheffler: The Afterlife*
Chapter 24 Harry G. Frankfurt: How the Afterlife Matters*
Chapter 25 Susan Wolf: The Significance of Doomsday*
About the Contributors


The late E.D. Klemke was Professor of Philosophy at Iowa State University, where he taught for more than twenty years.; Steven M. Cahn is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York Graduate Center.