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'Philosophers have an infuriating habit of analysing questions rather than answering them', writes Terry Eagleton, who, in these pages, asks the most important question any of us ever ask, and attempts to answer it. So what is the meaning of life? In this witty, spirited, and stimulating inquiry, Eagleton shows how centuries of thinkers - from Shakespeare and Schopenhauer to Marx, Sartre and Beckett - have tackled the question.
Refusing to settle for the bland and boring, Eagleton reveals with a mixture of humour and intellectual rigour how the question has become particularly problematic in modern times.
Instead of addressing it head-on, we take refuge from the feelings of 'meaninglessness' in our livesby filling them with a multitude of different things: from football and sex, to New Age religions and fundamentalism. 'Many of the readers of this book are likely to be as sceptical of the phrase "the meaning of life" as they are of Santa Claus', he writes.
But Eagleton contends that in a world where we need to find common meanings, it is important that we set about answering the question of all questions; and, in conclusion, he suggests his own answer. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.
These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.
Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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