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What’s It All about?

Julian Baggini (Oxford University Press: December 2006), 224 pages.

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. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Introduction     1
    • Looking for the blueprint     5
    • Living life forwards     23
    • More things in heaven and earth     40
    • Here to help     58
    • The greater good     72
    • As long as you’re happy     89
    • Becoming a contender     106
    • Carpe diem     124
    • Lose your self     140
    • The threat of meaninglessness     158
    • Of which reason knows nothing     174
    • Conclusion     185
    • Further reading and references     189