Suffering and meaning in life

Brady, M. S. (2022) Suffering and meaning in life. In: Landau, I. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Meaning in Life. Oxford University Press: New York, NY, pp. 461-474. ISBN 9780190063504 (doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190063504.013.33)

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Suffering can have a devastating impact on individuals, and not least because it undermines or destroys many of those things which seem central to a meaningful life: personal relationships, autonomy, career, physical and psychological health, and other objects of admiration and esteem. This chapter acknowledges this point, but examines the ways in which suffering can have a positive relation to meaning in life. On the one hand, experiences of suffering can be made meaningful to those who suffer, if it is possible for the sufferer to take up a positive, virtuous attitude to their suffering. On the other hand, suffering can be an essential component in meaningful life all-things-considered. The first point will be explained through a consideration of Nietzsche’s views on suffering and psychological strength. The second will be supported by examining religious and secular perspectives on the importance of suffering for meaningful lives.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brady, Professor Michael
Authors: Brady, M. S.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Published Online:20 April 2022

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