meaning in life

meaning in life

Quotes About Philosophy, by Modern Philosophers

quotes about philosophy March 16th, 2018

Quotes about philosophy, by philosophers, is the subject of this blog. I myself have been collecting philosophical quotes for 25 years now, but obviously the hobby goes way back. In fact, I have a penchant for collecting old books of quotes, and it’s really neat to open a book from the ’30s or ’40s and see what quotes about philosophy, science, politics, and values were like. I believe that a short collection of some intriguing quotes about philosophy by modern philosophers (mostly) is a cool idea, so here I go! Enjoy. 

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How to Find Happiness in Modern America

happiness March 9th, 2018

Attitude is everything, so they say. There is truly something to that. According to one strain of research, our happiness is about 50% “determined” by our genes. There is little we can do to stray very far from our “set point” level of happiness. A death will bring us very low, and that “new car smell” will give us a happiness bump for days, perhaps weeks. A promotion will engender some greater satisfaction, but it’s effect, too, will fade (perhaps only leaving a somewhat larger paycheck and potentially greater stress associated with increased or different responsibilities). The point is, If genes account for 50% of one’s level of happiness, what does that leave us with? This is a blog about psychological research, applied philosophy, and values and virtues such as personal growth, free will, and responsibility.

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Meaning in Life is About Involvement

meaning in life March 7th, 2018

I was reading a piece by the very influential philosopher (and fellow generalist!) Robert Nozick, as part of my class on meaning in life. The excerpt comes from his book Philosophical Explanations. In this blog, I want to share some of my understanding of Nozick’s approach to finding meaning in life. In a word, it’s about connectedness to things outside yourself which have intrinsic value. People, pursuits, ideas, causes – it’s about getting out there and transcending yourself. The quotes set apart in blue are his, though not necessarily from this book. Just relevant thoughts by the late, mostly-great philosopher, Robert Nozick.

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Meaning in Life According to Irving Singer

meaning February 21st, 2018

Irving Singer (1925-2015) was a prominent philosopher at MIT. I read his book Meaning in Life: The Creation of Value, and liked it about a B+ on an A-F scale. It is rife with quotes about meaning, fulfillment, ethics, value, values, philosophy, and self-examination. In this blog, I will reflect on a few quotations, but will also provide all the quotes about meaning I found in the book, which are many. Enjoy! 

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Is Education 2nd or 3rd Place at Elite Universities?

education February 17th, 2018

I am on a liberal education trip these days. I have zipped through books with titles such as In Defense of a Liberal Education; Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life; and Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters. It’s a fascinating subject, considering I like things ancient, think Good Will Hunting and Dead Poet’s Society were fantastic movies (can you tell that I miss Robin Williams!?), and spend a heckuva lot of time reading and recording fantastic quotations about values. My latest acquisition is by scholar William Deresiewicz and is entitled Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite. In this blog, I highlight some interesting quotations about education and reflect a bit on the Ivy League, America’s values, and what education means.

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Meaninglessness and Finding Meaning

meaning of life February 10th, 2018

This blog is an analysis of the short essay of Richard Taylor’s, “The Meaning of Life”, from his book Good and Evil (2000). Questions of meaninglessness, meaning, will, existentialism, free will, determinism, despair, and hope are touched on. In the end, the questions are asked, what a human is meant for, what makes him truly happy; what makes her have the will to go on? It is an easy argument to follow, and the culmination is fairly hopeful. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is integral to the essay. Quotes about meaning bookend it.

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Happiness: Tips and Insights

happiness February 8th, 2018

The Week (a weekly magazine I recommend) put out a little report on “the science of happiness,” with the question being asked: “Can we train ourselves to live happier, fuller lives?” Happier is worth exploring, and so is fuller. Some of the questions I aim to explore briefly in this blog include: What makes people happy? Does money help? Can happiness be improved? To what degree are greater fulfillment, meaning, joy and contentment within our control? I also tap into some scientific findings and wisdom perspective by psychologist Mark Leary of Duke University.

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The Meaning of Life Involves Connectedness

meaning October 12th, 2017

Robert Nozick was a scintillating figure in the history of philosophy. In part, he made a big splash with Anarchy, State and Utopia, and then “dropped the mic” and by and large, moved on! It was virtually the opposite of a John Rawls or a Peter Singer, who spent their entire professional lives fleshing out their theses. Secondly, his book Philosophical Explanations was well-regarded and wide-ranging. He was a generalist in the highest meaning of the term, a man of letters, and I admire that ability and self-confidence. He made some interesting assertions in the chapter “Value” in his book Philosophical Explanations, “a very wide-ranging investigation of a lot of territory in philosophy one way or another concerned with how to live a life in light of all sorts of philosophical problems,” as Mattias Risse, a philosopher of government and meaning in life at Harvard University, put it. Nozick’s idea about meaning in life being about transcending limits stands up to scrutiny; it is my intention to reconstruct, analyze, and assess Nozick’s claims about the nature of God and meaning herein.

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