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Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering: What Philosophy Can Tell Us about the Hardest Mystery of All

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  12 reviews
It’s right there in the Book of Job: “Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward.” Suffering is an inescapable part of the human condition—which leads to a question that has proved just as inescapable throughout the centuries: Why? Why do we suffer? Why do people die young? Is there any point to our pain, physical or emotional? Do horrors like hurricanes have meanin ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 4th 2018 by University of Chicago Press
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Terence
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering is not, on the surface, an argument for a particular way of rationalizing suffering. Samuelson clearly believes there is a purpose but is circumspect and careful not to favor one creed’s or philosopher’s belief over another. I don’t agree with that assumption, however – that suffering has meaning beyond what an individual might give it in the context of her life. Which is my beef with the book. If the author had limited himself to breaking down the th ...more
Roban Kramer
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m not totally in love with every part of this book (like the chapter on blues) but it’s a lovely tour through several major thought traditions. And I found it salutary during some of the tough moments of being a new parent. Would recommend if you’re interested in this sort of thing.
Kevin Krein
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
i started reading this as kind of a joke; or, at least, i wanted to read it mostly because i thought the title was really, really funny.

i found a copy of it at one of the college libraries in my town, and i checked it out, but i was hesitant. it's a philosophy book, and i was concerned i wasn't smart enough to read it. i don't have a ton of experience with 'philosophy' as a subject, outside of the few college classes i took on it a number of years ago, all of which i did kind of poorly in.

well
...more
Lachmi Khemlani
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little too much of philosophy, but otherwise, some very valuable insights on suffering as an inevitable and integral part of life. Read my full review at: https://bookswehaveread.com/2018/10/0... ...more
Stephanie
Odd as it may sound, I spend a lot of time thinking about suffering and happiness and meaning and all that sort of thing, so I enjoyed reading this book and contemplating this topic even though ultimately I thought the book could’ve been a lot stronger.

The main argument is that we should simultaneously be more accepting of the seemingly pointless suffering we experience in life, and also work to lessen the amount of pointless suffering that the human race experiences in general. I thought I agre
...more
Flynnbox
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A challenging, deserving subject receives a close examination

Engaging, insightful, lyrical, inspiring. Not utterly free of platitudes but utterly deserving of your time and considered attention. Strong recommendation for those who have any interest in philosophy or reflecting on the life we live within.
Eric Chevlen
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Author Scott Samuelson makes no false promises. The title of his book informs the reader that he is not offering an explanation or justification of pointless suffering, but rather merely seven ways of considering it. One could hardly expect more. After all, the whole point of pointlessness is....well, you get the idea.

The seven ways which Samuelson presents are certainly not comprehensive. The only biblical viewpoint he brings is a discussion of Job. That is hardly worthless, but, with the excep
...more
Phi Beta Kappa Authors
Scott Samuelson
ΦBK, Grinnell College, 1995
Author

From the publisher: It’s right there in the Book of Job: “Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward.” Suffering is an inescapable part of the human condition—which leads to a question that has proved just as inescapable throughout the centuries: Why? Why do we suffer? Why do people die young? Is there any point to our pain, physical or emotional? Do horrors like hurricanes have meaning?

In Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering, Scot
...more
Joseph Weyek
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I read the book. He decided to not include Buddha. Says everyone knows the Buddha's views. Mistake. Worth reading anyway. ...more
Andrew Bray
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wraps you in a journey of philosophy and what to do with our humanity.
Sunset
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An engaging philosophical investigation into the paradox of life: to accept suffering/to end suffering.

Peter
Mar 15, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: could-not-finish
Some interesting ideas but a LOT of meandering... I could not stay with it.
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