Article

The Meaning of Life

Thaddeus Metz

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0070
The Meaning of Life

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For millennia, thinkers have addressed the question of what, if anything, makes a life meaningful in some form or other. This article concentrates nearly exclusively on approaches to the question taken by analytic philosophers in the postwar era, by and large omitting reference to prewar Anglo-American works, texts from other traditions such as Continental or African philosophy, and writings from nonphilosophical but related fields such as religion and psychology. Much of the contemporary analytic discussion has sought to articulate and evaluate theories of meaning in life, i.e., general and fundamental principles of what all meaningful conditions have in common as distinct from meaningless ones. This entry accordingly focuses largely on these theories, which are distinguished according to the kind of property that is held to constitute meaning in life (see Supernaturalism, Naturalism, and Non-Naturalism).

Article.  7210 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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