Meaning in Life and Why It Matters

Princeton University Press
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Most people, including philosophers, tend to classify human motives as falling into one of two categories: the egoistic or the altruistic, the self-interested or the moral. According to Susan Wolf, however, much of what motivates us does not comfortably fit into this scheme. Often we act neither for our own sake nor out of duty or an impersonal concern for the world. Rather, we act out of love for objects that we rightly perceive as worthy of love--and it is these actions that give meaning to our lives. Wolf makes a compelling case that, along with happiness and morality, this kind of meaningfulness constitutes a distinctive dimension of a good life. Written in a lively and engaging style, and full of provocative examples, Meaning in Life and Why It Matters is a profound and original reflection on a subject of permanent human concern.
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About the author

Susan Wolf is the Edna J. Koury Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of Freedom within Reason.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 1, 2010
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Pages
168
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ISBN
9781400834594
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Philosophy / Mind & Body
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • This exquisite memoir by an idealistic young neurosurgeon asks What makes a life worth living? and makes a profound graduation gift—especially for aspiring doctors and nurses.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times Book Review • People • NPR • The Washington Post • Slate • Harper’s Bazaar • Esquire • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly • BookPage

Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Books for a Better Life Award in Inspirational Memoir

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

Praise for When Breath Becomes Air

“I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“An emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”—The Washington Post

“Possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead.”—The Boston Globe

“Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where it’s all heading.”—USA Today
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Thought leader, visionary, philanthropist, mystic, and yogi Sadhguru presents Western readers with a time-tested path to achieving absolute well-being: the classical science of yoga.

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SPIRITUALITY & HEALTH

The practice of hatha yoga, as we commonly know it, is but one of eight branches of the body of knowledge that is yoga. In fact, yoga is a sophisticated system of self-empowerment that is capable of harnessing and activating inner energies in such a way that your body and mind function at their optimal capacity. It is a means to create inner situations exactly the way you want them, turning you into the architect of your own joy.

A yogi lives life in this expansive state, and in this transformative book Sadhguru tells the story of his own awakening, from a boy with an unusual affinity for the natural world to a young daredevil who crossed the Indian continent on his motorcycle. He relates the moment of his enlightenment on a mountaintop in southern India, where time stood still and he emerged radically changed. Today, as the founder of Isha, an organization devoted to humanitarian causes, he lights the path for millions. The term guru, he notes, means “dispeller of darkness, someone who opens the door for you. . . . As a guru, I have no doctrine to teach, no philosophy to impart, no belief to propagate. And that is because the only solution for all the ills that plague humanity is self-transformation. Self-transformation means that nothing of the old remains. It is a dimensional shift in the way you perceive and experience life.” The wisdom distilled in this accessible, profound, and engaging book offers readers time-tested tools that are fresh, alive, and radiantly new. Inner Engineering presents a revolutionary way of thinking about our agency and our humanity and the opportunity to achieve nothing less than a life of joy.

Praise for Sadhguru and Inner Engineering

“Contrarian and consistent, ancient and contemporary, Inner Engineering is a loving invitation to live our best lives and a profound reassurance of why and how we can.”—Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element, Finding Your Element, and Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative

“I am inspired by Sadhguru’s capacity for joy, his exuberance for life, and the depth and breadth of his curiosity and knowledge. His book is filled with moments of wonder, awe, and intellectual challenge. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in self-transformation.”—Mark Hyman, M.D., director, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, and New York Times bestselling author

“Inner Engineering is a fascinating read of Sadhguru’s insights and his teachings. If you are ready, it is a tool to help awaken your own inner intelligence, the ultimate and supreme genius that mirrors the wisdom of the cosmos.”—Deepak Chopra
Written with real clarity by authors teaching and researching in the field, Wolf and Stanley on Environmental Law offers an excellent starting point for both law and non-law students encountering this diverse and controversial subject for the first time. Topics covered include administration and enforcement, waste management, EU environmental law, pollution control, environmental permitting, contaminated land, environmental torts and private regulation.

The book is supported by a range of learning features designed to help students:

Consolidate your learning:

Chapter learning objectives and detailed summaries clarify and highlight key points

Understand how the law works in practice:

‘Law in Action’ features demonstrate the application of pollution control law

Plan your research:

Detailed end of chapter further reading sections outline articles, books and online resources that provide next steps for your research

This sixth edition has been updated and revised to take into account recent developments in the subject, including coverage of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010; developments in the Environment Agency enforcement and sanctions policy documents; and updates relating to the defence of statutory authority in the tort of private nuisance.

Suitable for students of environmental law and the wider environmental studies, Wolf and Stanley on Environmental Law is a valuable guide to this wide-ranging subject.

Susan Wolf

is Principal Lecturer in Law at the University of Northumbria.

Neil Stanley

is Lecturer in Law at the University of Leeds.
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