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p. 332. The problem of meaninglocked

  • Terry Eagleton


With the question ‘What is the meaning of life?’ we see problems with every word in the question. Some might argue that the word ‘what’ should be substituted with ‘who’. What does ‘meaning’ mean? ‘The problem of meaning’ considers three definitions of meaning: one is to do with intending something or having something in mind; another concerns the idea of signifying; the third runs the first two together by indicating the act of intending or having in mind to signify something. Those who assume that there must be a positive meaning to life have to consider the challenges of someone like Schopenhauer who saw only the misery, scarcity, and exploitation in human life.

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