The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction (A Very Short Introductions)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  541 ratings  ·  81 reviews
The phrase "the meaning of life" for many seems a quaint notion fit for satirical mauling by Monty Python or Douglas Adams. But in this spirited Very Short Introduction, famed critic Terry Eagleton takes a serious if often amusing look at the question and offers his own surprising answer.
Eagleton first examines how centuries of thinkers and writers--from Marx and Schopenh...more
Paperback, 1st Edition, 109 pages
Published June 30th 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,425)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
محمود حسني


أكثر من ألف نجمة .. بل وأكثر من ذلك

أظنه من أفضل ما قدمت مؤسسة هنداوي .. ولو بيدي لذهبت إليهم وشكرتهم فردا فردا على جعل شئ بهذه الروعة والعمق والكثافة المتجسدة في مئة صفحة متاحة للقراءة وبترجمة رائعة

مئة صفحة بطريقة نشر مؤسسة هنداوي قد تزيد عن مئتي صفحة على طريقة الكثير من دور النشر التي تسعى للمكسب وفقط

كيف يمكن أن أعبر أو ألخص أو أعطي انطباعا عن هذا الكتاب الذي أظنه من أفضل ما قرأت ..

إن هذا التحقيق المدهش والعبقري لابد من قراءته وفهمه وطبعه ونشره على عامة الناس حتى وإن وجدوا فيه صعوبة .. وتدريسه...more
MG
This book has a funny title, but it is actually quite good. It was written by respected literary critic Terry Eagleton, whose lucid writing style is always entertaining and informative. At only 100 pages, it's a rather slim volume, but it manages to cover a lot of ground, discussing heavyweights like Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Beckett, and the king of doom, Schopenhauer.

I underlined this passage, which seems to summarize Eagleton's conclusion. I agree with what he says: "The meaning of life is les...more
Ted Burke
Terry Eagleton , a long time literary critic of Marxist training (Marxist Literary Criticsm, Literary Theory, Illusions of Post Moderism) and Catholic church moral rigor and one of the best explicators of the dually condensed and convoluted intersections of literature, philosophy and political action, has give us all a small, witty, tersely choice gift with his new book, more correctly an essay, called The Meaning of Life. Eagleton's intent, despite what one might assume, isn't to cast a dispara...more
Jon
If you don't read this book, at least read the Goodreads description of it, which is quite accurate. And which also praises the Oxford Very Short Introduction series, of which this is the second I've read. Eagleton spends a large section of the book discussing the meaning of "meaning" (he's a professor of literary theory, so that's his bread and butter); he then goes on to discuss the possible meanings of "life." He thus fulfills the warning of his opening sentence "Philosophers have an infuriat...more
Jan
How can an English professor and literary critic write a philosophical brief on the meaning of life? Well, Terry Eagleton did, and did it well. He takes us through the end of Victorian certainty and shows how Hardy and Conrad raised questions with a sense of urgency that Jane Austin never had. In the early decades of the 20th Century, T.S. Eliot and Camus and Sartre brought challenges to all our values, beliefs and institutions.

Most in the West (that is outside of the US) have now accepted the v...more
John Wiswell
It had been years since I had the guts to read serious philosophy, which meant it was incumbent to read some as soon as possible. Eagleton is not Kant or Hagel here, either, but blitzes through the basic underpinnings of theories on the Meaning of Life with skill and intimidating pace. His big trick is to either leave a query dismissed (post-modernism’s opposition to greater context) or unanswered (such as whether God actually exists). His job isn’t to give you the meaning of life, but rather to...more
Steve
This starts off reasonably well - the first dozen or so pages demonstrate a gratifying precision, setting up the prospect of a brief but rigorous analysis. And then... crash! It all falls apart.

What ruined it for me? Several things. Literary tangents that went on far too long. Grating political biases that had no place here and became all too frequent (he's not keen on liberals - and yes, his attack is always on liberals rather than liberalism; he seems to favour that approach. Eagleton's modus...more
Bojan Tunguz
The "Meaning of Life" is one of those age-old questions that people of all walks of life have been pondering for at least as long as we know that people have been pondering anything. There have been many approaches to this question, and the three most prominent ones have come from philosophy, theology/religion, and literature. In this very short introduction Terry Eagelton sets out to explore all those approaches to this perennial big question. Even thought his approach is not strictly speaking...more
Lyndon
I am not sure what it would mean to like or not a book about meaning. Is it a coherent account of meaning? Sure. He is right? How would I know? Eagleton's little work reminds me of the work of a friend of his Herbert McCabe, and in particular The Good Life by McCabe. The big exception is that McCabe reads Aquinas with Wittgenstein and finds his rest in God, whereas Eagleton reads Aquinas with Wittgenstein and (apparently) ends up at a Jazz bar.

Wes
"Take, as an image of the good life, a jazz group. A jazz group which is improvising obviously differs from a symphony orchestra, since to a large extent each member is free to express herself as she likes. But she does so with a receptive sensitivity to the self-expressive performances of the other musicians. The complex harmony they fashion comes not from playing from a collective score, but from the free musical expression of each member acting as the basis for the free expression of the othe...more
Hesam
آیا ماجرای این پرسش را برای همیشه فیصله داده ایم ؟ یکی از ویژگی های مدرنیته این است که به ندرت پرسش مهمی را برای همیشه فیصله میدهد. همانطور که پیشتر گفته ایم مدرنیته عصری است که در آن متوجه میشویم که قادر نیستیم حتی در مورد حیاتی ترین و بنیادی ترین قضایا به توافق برسیم. بی تردید مجادلات ما درباره ی معنای زندگی، حاصلخیز و بارور خواهد بود. اما در جهانی که در آن، در چنبره ی خطراتی عظیم زدنگی میکنیم، شکست در دست یافتن به معناهای مشترک به یک اندازه هشدار دهنده و نیروبخش است .
معتز عناني

الغموض لا يكمن في كيفية نشأة العالم ، ولكن يكمن في وجوده اصلاً ... فيتجنشتاين

هذا الكتاب لا تقرأه ان كنت تبحث عن معنى حقيقي فاصل للحياة ،، فلن تجد هذه الاجابة هنا في طيات هذا الكتاب ولا في غيره ،، ولكن ستجد رحلة في البحث عن معنى ،، وعن ادوات البحث ،، وعن حقيقة أمل الوصول لمعنى للحياة

الفصل الأول : اسئلة وأجوبة يطرح قضية ،، من أهم السؤال أم الاجابة ،، وهل لكل سؤال اجابة واحدة حتمية ام مجموعة من الاجابات ،، فالكاتب هنا يحاول ان يوصل للقارئ ان الحياة لن يكون لها معنى واحد ولكن مصفوفة من المعاني تتكا...more
آســــيــــا
مستخلصاً ماعبره الفلاسفه ومدعماً وجهة نظره في أن مهمة الإنسان هي ايجاد معنى للحياة والحياة لاتصبح ذات مغزى من تلقاء نفسها اذ ينبغي السعي لإيجاده
sanaz
ترجمه کتاب بسیار سردستی است. انگار جمله ها هنوز به زبان انگلیسی هستند. اگر می توانید اصل کتاب را بخوانید. احتمالا احساس خواهید کرد که کتاب بهتری است
Jennifer
Well I didn't discover the meaning of life. But that's okay. Eagleton compiled a few philosophers' insights and offered some of his own. Good enough.
Alex Lee
I've always admired Terry Eagleton's concise and clear writing style. So I was very curious as to what he would say when he wrote this book (in the midst of battling cancer). In some ways, I am awestruck by how quickly he is able to get to the heart of such complex philosophies. In other ways I feel let down by Eagleton's approach.

Eagleton takes a reductionist stance on the question "What is the meaning of life", at once picking apart the question through choice thinkers. Eagleton's weakness in...more
Ferda Nihat Köksoy
HAYATIN ANLAMI
(http://www.kitabinomurgasi.com/2013/0...)
Kitaptan Alıntılar ve Sentezler:
-Varlığını farkedip sorgulayan, varlığının sonlanacağını bilen ve daima bunun gölgesinde yaşayan tek canlı insandır (M.Heidegger).

-Ey NİHİLİSTLER! Eğer dünya anlamsızsa, UMUTSUZLUK da mümkün olamaz (çünkü onun da bir anlamı vardır).

-ANLAMları, doğaya ve başkalarının anlamlarına göre biz geliştirebiliriz.

-DİL, insanı hem özne hem nesne kılabilen başlıca aracıdır.

-BELKİ, en sevdiğim sözdür (S.Beckett).

-Doğası...more
William
This is a nice, compact overview of what Eagleton now sees as the most relevant aspect of philosophy - the meaning of life. He reviews ideas about meaning from the history of philosophy, touching on Derrida, Wittgenstein, Aquinas, Christianity, Marxism and Aristotle. Typical of Eagleton's style, he tends to reduce and simplify the formulations he considers, but here, in contrast to his overview of literary theory, his tone is not as dismissive. His typical air of arrogance is replaced by a welco...more
Billie Pritchett
The subject matter is fine, but Terry Eagleton spends too much time asserting distinctions between modernism and postmodernism, doing too much folk linguistics (which is pretty bad), and talking about literary works that deal with the meaning of life question but losing his train of thought in the process. In spite of the book's many shortcomings, he does makes some sensible comments. For example, he writes, in one of his more lucid moments,"Any meaningful life-plan which fails to accommodate th...more
Ilya
What is the meaning of life? The first thing that comes to mind is to ask whether the question itself is meaningful. The question "What is the mass of an electron?" is meaningful; the questions "What is the taste of an electron?" and "What is the mass of saltiness?" are grammatically correct but meaningless. The next thing is to ask, in what societies the question arises. Eagleton says that premodern societies were less bothered by the question than modern ones, but I have my doubts. The author...more
Peter Landau
SPOILER ALERT: What is the meaning of life? Jazz. Well, sort of. That's the best answer Eagleton can come up with, but, like the book, the journey is the real answer. The process is the product. Life is in the living. And jazz is pretty good, too, with its various improvisors having fun, expressing themselves, but not at the expense of the whole. While the beginning of the book is semantically of interest as it parses the meaning of each word in the title's sentence, the real show begins later a...more
Julie
A good, fast read. I liked the idea of discussing the phrase "the meaning of life" in less than 90 pages. I liked Eagleton's approach to the task, by dissecting the phrase word by word (what do you mean by "meanng"? what do you mean by "life"?). He points out, very astutely, that the question itself of "what is the meaning of life?" is not a very good one, as it presumes/anticipates that the answer to that question needs to be very compact, like "42." How can you get a good answer if you don't h...more
Işıl
Eagleton is one of those reasonable voices who actually have something to say. But when I picked this book I was not in search for plausibility or anything of sort. Surely you won't get a full guide of making your life better in the light of the meaning of life, instead what you'll come across is comparisons of several philosophers (that is, mostly Schopenhauer, Marx, Wittgenstein whom Eagleton is in sympathy with.) in respect of searching for a meaning in life, or a complete disavowal of the p...more
Zapatoo
Über dieses Buch bin ich eher zufällig gestoßen, weil ich ein etwas anderes von Eagleton kaufen wollte. Aber zu einer solchen Frage, eine allgemeingültige, gar nicht mal abwegige, Antwort zu finden - jenseits einer postmodernen Beliebigkeit, ist dann doch interessant. Die Vorgehensweise ist dabei einem marxistischen Literaturwissenschaftler durchaus angemessen und immer unterhaltsam, schön unterlegt mit zahlreichen Textverweisen auf, geradezu klassische, literarische Werke. Aber ebenso und mehr...more
Trevor
This book is quite fun – as long as you don’t take it too seriously, and, let’s face it, it is almost impossible to take seriously a book called ‘the meaning of life, a very short introduction’. There is something paradoxical about the meaning of life being an introduction – surely we are after conclusions.

This has a nice pace and enough jokes to keep you smiling between ideas. My favourite joke in the whole thing (one I’d never heard before and feel very surprised that I never thought of it my...more
Bibliomantic
It is difficult to judge a book with a title such as this one fairly. While I’m sure no one would expect Eagleton to actually tell them what the meaning of life is, the desire to be shown some new angle on the issue is on one’s mind nevertheless. I expected Eagleton to go over the usual issues of what it means to ask or say something like “the meaning of life”, and he did, but the limited conclusions one may put forward on this topic inevitably lead to disappointment, perhaps through no fault of...more
Moamen

A beautiful very interesting book . I love this type of books that simplifies a wide range of ideas on the same subject introducing the reader to most of what is said on the subject and leaving him with the choice to do any further readings on what he was interested in and not trying to convince or "sell" to him certain ideas .

this books not only increases my knowledge vastly and expands my perceptions but also shows to me where my own ideas are on the "map of ideology" .

Terry Eagleton does a be...more
Chris
Eagleton, a Marxist theorist of the most woolly and gnarled kind, recounts and mulls over some of the concerns and issues in the question "What is the meaning of life?", exploding notions of meaning and relating philosophers and theorists take on the issues involved. Includes a bit too much from Freud and Marx for my taste, but the stuff from Wittgenstein and Aristotle was very good and Eagleton seems to come very close to articulating a rough map of what 'the meaning of life' might be. Also int...more
أحمد ناجي
استظراف وسخافة ايجلتون شيء لا يطاق
راجل بمنتهى التفاهه وانعدام حتى الموهبة والقدرة على الاستظراف، كتاب لطيف كان ممكن يبقي تحقيق فلسفي حوالين طرح الفلاسفة لموضوع المعنى والحياة، لكن ايجلتون بيحوله لشوية شتيمة في مابعد الحداثة واستظراف ونكات سخيفة
للمرة الثالثة ايجلتون يثبت انه الامتداد الانجلو ساكسونى لعباس العقاد
Al Romisa
الكتاب ده كان مكأفاة بعد المذاكرة
بس إتضح انه عقاب

الكتاب دسم جداا ,تقريباً أصعب كتاب قابلته رغم إني قرأت لهجيل وجان جاك روسو ونتيشه
أو أنا اللي ماليش شغف تجاه المنطق
عموماً تجربة جديدة , شكرا تيري إيجلتون
:))
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 47 48 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports
  • Powers and Prospects: Reflections on Human Nature & the Social Order
  • Kant in 90 Minutes
  • Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
  • Nothing: A Very Short Introduction
  • Logic: A Very Short Introduction
  • Relativity: A Very Short Introduction
  • Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  • The Second Plane: 14 Responses to September 11
  • Quantum Theory: A Very Short Introduction
  • Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction
  • Foucault: A Very Short Introduction
  • Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
  • Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction
  • Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction
  • Nietzsche: A Very Short Introduction
10283
Widely regarded as Britain's most influential living literary critic & theorist, Dr Eagleton currently serves as Distinguished Prof. of English Literature at the Univ. of Lancaster & as Visiting Prof. at the Nat'l Univ. of Ireland, Galway. He was Thomas Warton Prof. of English Literature at the Univ. of Oxford ('92-01) & John Edward Taylor Prof. of English Literature at the Univ. of Ma...more
More about Terry Eagleton...
Literary Theory 2e - An Introduction Why Marx Was Right After Theory Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate Marxism and Literary Criticism

Share This Book

“If it is true that we need a degree of certainty to get by, it is also true that too much of the stuff can be lethal.” 16 likes
“In the pragmatist, streetwise climate of advanced postmodern capitalism, with its scepticism of big pictures and grand narratives, its hard-nosed disenchantment with the metaphysical, 'life' is one among a whole series of discredited totalities. We are invited to think small rather than big – ironically, at just the point when some of those out to destroy Western civilization are doing exactly the opposite. In the conflict between Western capitalism and radical Islam, a paucity of belief squares up to an excess of it. The West finds itself faced with a full-blooded metaphysical onslaught at just the historical point that it has, so to speak, philosophically disarmed. As far as belief goes, postmodernism prefers to travel light: it has beliefs, to be sure, but it does not have faith.” 4 likes
More quotes…