What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life

What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life

Paperback

By (author) Julian Baggini

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 203mm x 13mm | 91g
  • Publication date: 26 August 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195315790
  • ISBN 13: 9780195315790
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 509,129

Product description

What is the meaning of life? It is a question that has intrigued the great philosophers-and has been hilariously lampooned by Monty Python. Indeed, the whole idea strikes many of us as vaguely pompous and perhaps more than a little absurd. Is there one profound answer, an ultimate purpose behind human existence? Julian Baggini thinks not. Rather, as Baggini argues in What's It All About, meaning can be found in a variety of ways. He succinctly breaks down six answers people commonly suggest when considering what life is all about-helping others, serving humanity, being happy, becoming successful, enjoying each day as if it were your last, and "freeing your mind." By reducing the vague, mysterious question of "meaning" to a series of more specific (if unmysterious) questions about what gives life purpose and value, he shows that the quest for meaning can be personal, empowering, and uplifting. Illustrating his argument with the thoughts of many of the great philosophers and examples drawn from everyday life, Baggini convincingly shows that the search for meaning is personal and within the power of each of us to find.

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Author information

Julian Baggini is the founding editor of The Philosopher's Magazine. He writes regularly for publications such as the Guardian, Sunday Herald, and The Times Educational Supplement, and is a regular guest on BBC radio. He is the author of several books on philosophy, including Making Sense: Philosophy Behind the Headlines (OUP) and Atheism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP). For more information, please visit the author's website at www.julianbaggini.com.

Review quote

Useful and provocative. Wall Street Journal Looking for a clear guide to what contemporary philosophy has to say about the meaning of life? Baggini takes us through all the plausible answers, weaving together Kierkegaard, John Stuart Mill, Monty Python, and Funkadelic in an entertaining but always carefully reasoned discussion. Peter Singer, author of How Are We To Live A work of popular philosophy that is simple, serious and devoid of ostentation. The question of the meaning of life has long been a byword for pretentious rambling. It takes some nerve to tackle it in a brisk and no-nonsense fashion. New Statesman Informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining in the process. The book takes a refreshingly personal approach and offers an encounter with a vigorous mind at work, puzzling through the issues in a trenchantly argued but subtly reasoned way. New Humanist It's egalitarianism of style and content is admirable. There is nothing here to put off someone who has never read a book of philosophy, yet the book is doing philosophy, not just talking about it. Scotland on Sunday