Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World

Iddo Landau (Author)


Does life have meaning? Is it possible for life to be meaningful when the world is filled with suffering and when so much depends merely upon chance? Even if there is meaning, is there enough to justify living?

These questions are difficult to resolve. There are times in which we face the mundane, the illogically cruel, and the tragic, which leave us to question the value of our lives. However, Iddo Landau argues, our lives often are, or could be made, meaningfulwe've just been setting the bar too high for evaluating what meaning there is.

When it comes to meaning in life, Landau explains, we have let perfect become the enemy of the good. We have failed to find life perfectly meaningful, and therefore have failed to see any meaning in our lives. We must attune ourselves to enhancing and appreciating the meaning in our lives, and Landau shows us how to do that.

In this warmly written book, rich with examples from the author's life, film, literature, and history, Landau offers new theories and practical advice that awaken us to the meaning already present in our lives and demonstrates how we can enhance it. He confronts prevailing nihilist ideas that undermine our existence, and the questions that dog us no matter what we believe. While exposing the weaknesses of ideas that lead many to despair, he builds a strong case for maintaining more hope. Along the way, he faces provocative questions: Would we choose to live forever if we could? Does death render life meaningless? If we examine it in the context of the immensity of the whole universe, can we consider life meaningful? If we feel empty once we achieve our goals, and the pursuit of these goals is what gives us a sense of meaning, then what can we do? Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World is likely to alter the way you understand your life.

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
August 01, 2017
5.6 X 1.0 X 8.5 inches | 0.9 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Iddo Landau is Professor of Philosophy at Haifa University, Israel. He has published extensively on the meaning of life.


"Landau's wisdom shines through, offering sound advice for making one's life feel more meaningful and worthwhile." -- Gavin Vance, Department of Psychology, Oakland University, Evolutionary Psychological Science

" may very well be the best one on the market. It is accessible to a wide audience, including non-academics. As such, this book could be a good recommended read to persons struggling with finding meaning or work in their lives." -- Caitlin Maples, The Journal of Value Inquiry

"[This] book impressively achieves its main goal: Landau improves both academics' and non-academics' thinking about this important topic, and helps us making and considering our lives more meaningful... I hope that similar books will soon further exemplify contemporary analytic philosophy's great potential to inform cognitive therapy or self-help." -- The Philosophical Quarterly

"While most of the recent philosophical work on meaning in life is very theoretical, Landau's book is engaging, accessible, and pitched toward those who have genuine concerns about the value or worth of their lives ... This book would work very well in undergraduate courses dealing with meaning in life or well-being. That the book's working account of the meaningful life leaves room for further specification could function as a basis for productive and fun uses in the classroom ... On the whole, Iddo Landau's book is a wonderful contribution. It is a delightful read and should prove a helpful resource for teachers and for researchers who work on the meaning of life. And, perhaps most importantly, this book offers people hope and guidance for living a meaningful life in our all too imperfect world."--Stephen M. Campbell, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"This book is rare in being thoroughly versed in many philosophical discussions of the meaning of life, yet full of practical wisdom. Completely accessible to anyone who finds the question of meaning urgent, it sets a standard few discussions of the topic manage to reach." --Simon Blackburn, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, Research Professor at UNC Chapel Hill, and Professor at the New College of the Humanities

"A deep exploration of the main questions and answers in the meaning of life literature. A pleasure to read." --Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy at Duke University

"Written for the generally educated reader, but of interest to the professional philosopher, Iddo Landau's book is a guide to making life meaningful under less than ideal conditions. Landau is a careful, informed navigator, showing the reader how to reach a meaningful life despite obstacles such as suffering, death, evil, randomness, and a lack of free will. Making insightful philosophical points without jargon, referring to literature and the arts to illustrate, and also plumbing people's psychologies to identify mental blocks, Landau's book is practically wise and theoretically profound." --Thaddeus Metz, Distinguished Research Professor, University of Johannesburg