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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

(16-1) Cottingham and the meaning of life

April 24, 2013
We discussed Cottingham and his interpretation of life. Cottingham states The main problem about human existence is its fragility. The projects that we embark on are constantly in danger of foundering because of the ordinary contingencies of life. Does he mean death? He says Exactly, that’s the most striking one. But also illness, old age, infirmity. Philosophers have often written as if human beings are grand, autonomous, self-sufficient agents who are somehow in charge of their lives, and then philosophy’s job is supposed to be to map out the conditions for the good life. Well, there’s nothing wrong with trying to map out the conditions for the good life, but we can never be in complete control of things, because our lives are subject to the kinds of contingencies just mentioned. So a meaningful life has to be one which is not just rich in various ways—a life that includes enriching and valuable activities—but one that somehow comes to terms with this fragility and this contingency.

Warburton, Nigel; Edmonds, David (2010-08-12). Philosophy Bites (Kindle Locations 2750-2754). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

So what is your meaning of life or do think that there is no meaning? Let us know in the comment section below.

P.S Here is a link on Cottingham lecturing his philosophy.


  1. I don't believe that there is a particular meaning for one's life. I think that each person is different and thus their own meaning of life is different. For me, I think the more you do for others than you do for yourself, you are on the right track.

  2. Adam Thomas12:04 PM CDT

    i sort of agree with what you said, but maybe saying that there is not a particular meaning for everyone's life is a better way to put it. i believe there is a particular meaning for each individuals' life and they are all different.

  3. i think everyone has a meaning in life. things like careers and hobbies become our passions and thats what helps us fulfill our meaning.