A collection of essays by fifteen philosophers presenting a thoughtful, introductory guide to choosing a philosophy for living an examined and meaningful life. A VINTAGE ORIGINAL
Socrates famously said "the unexamined life is not worth living," but what does it mean to truly live philosophically?
This thought-provoking, wide-ranging collection brings together essays by fifteen leading philosophers reflecting on what it means to live according to a philosophy of life. From Eastern philosophies (Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism) and classical Western philosophies (such as Aristotelianism and Stoicism), to the four major religions, as well as contemporary philosophies (such as existentialism and effective altruism), each contributor offers a lively, personal account of how they find meaning in the practice of their chosen philosophical tradition.
Together, the pieces in How to Live a Good Life provide not only a beginner's guide to choosing a life philosophy but also a timely portrait of what it means to live an examined life in the twenty-first century.
Philosophy professors Pigliucci, Cleary, and Kaufman deliver on their goal of providing a "glimpse of how the world looks through respective lenses" of 15 major philosophies in this anthology featuring an impressive array of contributors. The short essays are divided into four categories ancient Eastern philosophies, ancient Western philosophies, religious traditions, and modern philosophies and admirably avoid jargon. Philosophy professor Owen Flanagan poses a thought experiment with a question he asked the Dalai Lama in 2000: should a genocidal murderer, such as Hitler, be killed? He then uses the lama's response, "Yes, kill him. But don't be angry," to explore the importance of viewing anger as always inappropriate. Kaufman provides a succinct yet comprehensive overview of Aristotelianism, and Pigliucci does the same for Stoicism. In the book's standout essay, Anne Klaeysen, a clergy leader at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, explores the appeal of "ethical culture" regardless of belief using instances in which religion has been irrational and dangerous as when a transgender woman was shunned by her ultra-Orthodox community. Readers interested in thinking more about their life-choices and options for change will be grateful for this practical guide to, as the authors write in their conclusion, the "possibilities to learn from, ponder, and perhaps adopt."