Meaning in Life and Why It Matters

Meaning in Life and Why It Matters

3.56 (314 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Commentaries by  , Commentaries by  , Commentaries by  , Commentaries by  , Introduction by 
3.56 (314 ratings by Goodreads)

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 7-12 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Most people, including philosophers, tend to classify human motives as falling into one of two categories: the egoistic or the altruistic, the self-interested or the moral. According to Susan Wolf, however, much of what motivates us does not comfortably fit into this scheme. Often we act neither for our own sake nor out of duty or an impersonal concern for the world. Rather, we act out of love for objects that we rightly perceive as worthy of love--and it is these actions that give meaning to our lives. Wolf makes a compelling case that, along with happiness and morality, this kind of meaningfulness constitutes a distinctive dimension of a good life. Written in a lively and engaging style, and full of provocative examples, Meaning in Life and Why It Matters is a profound and original reflection on a subject of permanent human concern.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 162 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 15.24mm | 198g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 0691154503
  • 9780691154503
  • 154,504

Back cover copy

"Susan Wolf's picture of what makes life meaningful is at once powerful and down to earth, deeply argued but unpretentious. Part of Wolf's persuasive force comes from her stylish prose and cool treatment of profound concerns. This book is absorbing and a pleasure to read."--Kieran Setiya, University of Pittsburgh

"Susan Wolf is one of the clearest, most thoughtful, and most incisively elegant writers in contemporary ethics. She has an uncanny knack for putting her finger on important points and expressing them in ways that capture the imagination. In this book, she develops her ideas about meaningfulness in life with considerable subtlety, creating a work of genuine depth and importance."--John Martin Fischer, University of California, Riverside
show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction by Stephen Macedo xi MEANING IN LIFE AND WHY IT MATTERS Meaning in Life 1 Why It Matters 34 COMMENTS AND RESPONSE John Koethe 67 Robert M. Adams 75 Nomy Arpaly 85 Jonathan Haidt 92 Response Susan Wolf 102 Contributors 133 Index 137
show more

Review quote

"Given the unfortunate (but arguably necessary) divorce of psychology from philosophy more than a century ago, books like Meaning in Life and Why It Matters, which allow for dialogue between these disciplines, are a much-needed and much-welcomed development... Wolf's essay is a psychologically sophisticated philosophical argument on the structure, reality, and importance of meaningfulness in life. Its psychological sophistication lies not in her mastery of any particular empirical literature but rather in her attentiveness to normal, everyday intuitions and feelings."--Russell D. Kosits, PsycCRITIQUES
show more

About Susan Wolf

Susan Wolf is the Edna J. Koury Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of Freedom within Reason.
show more

Rating details

314 ratings
3.56 out of 5 stars
5 20% (64)
4 32% (102)
3 33% (105)
2 10% (31)
1 4% (12)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X