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Meaning in LifeThe Creation of Value$
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Irving Singer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262513562

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262513562.001.0001

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The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

Rephrasing Questions

1 (p.17) The Meaning of Life
Meaning in Life

Irving Singer

The MIT Press

Questions about the meaning of life have been linked to the history of philosophy. People long to uncover the secrets of the universe and what it means, while seeking a meaningful way to live their lives. The nature of a meaningful life might be something people find or something they create, one that is dependent on purposes, values, or ideals. It might be related to happiness. This chapter examines the meaning of life from a philosophical perspective, first by considering the speculations of three nineteenth-century philosophers: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. It then discusses two approaches used to explain the meaning of life: the traditionalist, which includes most of religious belief in the West, and the absurdist or nihilist. It also introduces the idea of purpose in life, the universal plan of God in relation to a meaningful life, absurdity, and nihilism. The chapter concludes with a discussion of meaningfulness in living things.

Keywords:   Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, meaning of life, philosophy, purpose, religious belief, absurdity, nihilism, living things

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