Life, Death & Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions

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David Benatar
Rowman & Littlefield, 2004 - Philosophy - 410 pages
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In Life, Death, and Meaning, David Benatar offers a distinctive collection of readings designed to introduce undergraduates and lay readers to the key existential questions of philosophy: Do our lives have meaning? Is death something to be feared? Would it be better to be immortal? Classic and contemporary essays consider such questions as the meaning of life, creating people, death, suicide, immortality, and optimism and pessimism. These key readings are supplemented with helpful introductions, study questions, and suggestions for further reading, making the material accessible and interesting for students. In short, the book provides a singular introduction to the way that philosophy has dealt with the big questions of life that we are all tempted to ask.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Meaning of Life
17
The Meaning of Life
19
The Absurd
29
Nothing Matters
41
Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
49
Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
63
The Meanings of Life
91
Why Death Is Not Bad for the One Who Died
265
Suggestions for Further Reading on Death
285
Suicide
287
Of Suicide
289
Suicide and Duty
297
The Morality and Rationality of Suicide
305
Suggestions for Further Reading on Suicide
319
Immortality
321

Suggestions for Further Reading on the Meaning of Life
113
Creating People
115
Whether Causing Someone to Exist Can Benefit This Person
117
Why Not Let Life Become Extinct?
123
On Becoming Extinct
135
Why It Is Better Never to Come into Existence
155
Suggestions for Further Reading on Creating People
169
Death
171
How to Be Dead and Not Care A Defense of Epicurus
173
The Misfortunes of the Dead
189
Annihilation
199
Some Puzzles About the Evil of Death
221
PreVital and PostMortem NonExistence
241
Immortality A Letter
323
The Makropulos Case Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality
331
Why Immortality Is Not So Bad
349
Suggestions for Further Reading on Immortality
365
Optimism and Pessimism
367
Optimism
369
The Consolations of Optimism
383
On the Sufferings of the World
393
Suggestions for Further Reading on Optimism and Pessimism
403
Index
405
About the Contributors
409
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

David Benatar is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Cape Town, South Africa

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