A Significant Life: Human Meaning in a Silent Universe

Univ. of Chicago. Apr. 2015. 240p. notes. index. ISBN 9780226235677. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780226235707. PHIL
In this short, yet thought-provoking work, May (Class of 1941 Memorial Professor of the Humanities, Clemson Univ.; Death) seeks to examine what it means to live a meaningful life. He begins with looking at the French philosopher Albert Camus's conclusion that humans live with the absurd notion that we need to find meaning in a universe that is indifferent to our need. May explains that his book might not give us the concrete answers Camus was looking for, but that he intends to provide an objective standard that we can use to determine whether a human life has meaning. He uses the writings of philosophers and authors, such as Aristotle and William Faulkner, to show that it is possible to use narrative values and evaluate someone's entire life by matching certain kinds of activities, goals, and actions that support certain narrative values that we would judge as meaningful.
VERDICT May's creative and thoughtful work will appeal to those with an interest in philosophy and also those who are looking for an alternative to religious works and how-to manuals on finding meaning in our lives.
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