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Baggini, founding editor of the Philosophers Magazine, makes the rationalist-humanist assumption that reason and evidence are to be employed in the attempt to understand why we are here. He then proceeds to argue that inquiry into human origins and future human prospects does not reveal a purpose for human existence. Most confrontational to readers may be his skepticism about a God giving purpose to life. Is it plausible, he asks, to suppose that we are here to "be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (Genesis 1:28)? Why do we need to do this? And why would an all-powerful God create us to have us serve or worship him? Doesnt that suggest that God is an egotistical tyrant?
The conclusion that life lacks a "higher" purpose is often accompanied by great angst. Without such an overarching direction, life seems worthless. Baggini, however, challenges this view and provides some rough guidelines about what in fact makes life valuable to people. Helping others can give life meaning, insofar as it makes for an uplifted quality of life. Happiness, construed as something other than mere immediate sensual pleasure, is also a good thing. Success in parenting, in ones profession and in leading a morally decent existence can give life direction, too.
There is much to recommend Bagginis book. It is clearly written and reasoned, setting out the sober view that life can be meaningful even if purposeless. The principal shortcomings are those imposed by the genre of popular philosophythe reader is likely to fi nd that his or her particular views are not given the full attention they deserve. Nor are the authors positive views worked out in much detail. What this means, of course, is that Whats It All About? is only a starting point for reflection.
Ken Aizawa --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Must read, for those who ever wonder why we are all here people on Earth for. Given, Baggini is a fluent philosopher in both modern and old ages, taken modern science into account,... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ilya Shindyalov
a concise, lucid account regarding a topic concerning each person. the author Julian Baggini seemly does so with the absence of finger pointing, depending on ones interpretation of... Read morePublished 16 months ago by RAD
I like this book and use it regularly in the college-level Death & the Meaning of Life course I teach. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Greg Bassham
Julian Baggini is a British philosopher, author of several books about philosophy written for a general audience, and co-founder and... Read more
At times a little depressing, then uplifting, then depressing again. There are points when she had to stop reading it, but overall it's a great way to hash out your thoughts on the... Read morePublished on April 12, 2013 by Tanner Rich
As someone who's stayed up late on many occasions pondering the meaning of life, the size of the universe, the possibilities of man's future, etc. Read morePublished on October 19, 2012 by The Syndicate15
A fulfilling feeling that I got when reading Baggini's "What's It All About?" was `I never thought of that! Read morePublished on April 9, 2010 by Ingo Leung
With this book Julian Baggini continues to qualify himself as a contemporary successor of Bertrand Russell. Read morePublished on February 10, 2010 by Michael Murauer