Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World

ISBN : 9780190657666

Iddo Landau
360 ページ
156 x 235 mm

Does life have meaning? Is it possible for life to be meaningful when the world is filled with suffering and when so much depends merely upon chance? Even if there is meaning, is there enough to justify living? These questions are difficult to resolve. After all, few of us devote our lives fully to pursuits that are indisputably meaningful. Even if we are teachers, doctors, or social justice advocates, and the positive effects of our labor are daily evident, there are moments in which we face the mundane, the illogically cruel, and the tragic, which leave us to question the value of our lives. But even still, Iddo Landau argues, our lives are in fact meaningful- we've just been setting the bar too high for evaluating what meaning there is. When it comes to meaning in life, Landau explains, we have let perfect become the enemy of the good. We have failed to find perfectly meaningful lives, and therefore have despaired of living. We must attune ourselves to discovering and appreciating the meaning that abounds in our lives, and Landau shows us how to do that. In this warmly written book, rich with examples from the author's life, film, literature, and history, Landau offers uplifting new theories and practical advice that awaken us to the meaning already present. He fearlessly confronts prevailing nihilist ideas that undermine our existence, and the questions that dog us no matter what we believe. While exposing the weaknesses of ideas that lead many to despair, he builds a strong case for why it is imperative we have more hope. Along the way, he faces provocative questions: Would we choose to live forever if we could? Does death render life meaningless? If we examine it in the context of the immensity of the whole universe, can we consider life meaningful? If we feel empty once we achieve our goals, and the pursuit of these goals is what gives us a sense of meaning, then what can we do? A genuine and important contribution to the philosophical literature on the meaning of life, Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World may alter the way you understand your life.


Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Implications
Chapter Three: Against Perfectionism
Chapter Four: Anticipations of Non-Perfectionism
Chapter Five: Death and Annihilation (1)
Chapter Six: Death and Annihilation (2)
Chapter Seven: Life in the Context of the Whole Universe
Chapter Eight: Determinism and Contingency
Chapter Nine: Skepticism and Relativism
Chapter Ten: The Goal of Life
Chapter Eleven: The Paradox of the End
Chapter Twelve: Suffering
Chapter Thirteen: Human Evil
Chapter Fourteen: Why We Are Blind to Goodness
Chapter Fifteen: Identifying (1)
Chapter Sixteen: Identifying (2)
Chapter Seventeen: Recognizing
Chapter Eighteen: Conclusion (1)
Chapter Nineteen: Conclusion (2)


Iddo Landau is Professor of Philosophy at Haifa University, Israel. He has published extensively on the meaning of life, and is the author of Is Philosophy Androcentric? (Penn State University Press, 2006).