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Philosophy of Life

Philosophy of life deals with philosophical questions about life and philosophies concerning life. Some cliché questions epitomize the philosophy of life, including:

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • What is the purpose of life?
  • What is the nature of life?
  • What is the significance of life?
  • What is valuable in life?

Technically, any philosophical question or topic related to life or living would fall under the category philosophy of life. In common terms, people often use philosophy of life to refer to any topics related to life in general, including non-philosophical statements or opinions. Most frequently, a so-called philosophy of life consists of a wise statement or opinion about life in general terms. For example, consider the following well-known saying: "Don't take life too seriously; nobody gets out alive."

Of course, even such quips may relate to a philosophy of life, because they exemplify the wisdom and opinions of a full philosophy of life. Philosophy of life deals with parts of philosophy from all different categories, because everything from ones understanding of knowledge, of existence, of morality, of beauty, and such would contribute to their overall outlook on life and how they want to live it.

Many people attempt to offer philosophical answers to the meaning of life. Basically, religious people usually believe that a god or gods created life and thus that life derives its meaning from the intentions of the creator or creators. They believe the purpose of life is to live for the god(s) and do as the god(s) wish. Of course, one could then ask the same questions about a god's alleged existence that one would ask about human life. For example, just as one could ask, "why do humans exist;" one could also ask, "why does god exist? Who created god?"

Other people give offer other answers to the central questions in the philosophy of life. Many people claim view survival and/or reproduction as the purpose of life. Some people may say to just live life they way you want and try to achieve happiness.

Of course, many philosophers consider it as nonsensical to ask about the meaning or purpose of life. They believe the fallacy lies in the assumption that life has or needs to have a meaning or purpose. Not everything has meaning and purpose. Meaning and purpose our given to things by people. A stove has the purpose of cooking because humans design it for that goal, before which it had no purpose. A word has meaning because humans gave an meaning to an otherwise meaningless jumble of sounds. If living people give purpose and meaning to things, then it stand to reason that they would not have purpose or meaning. Of course, if a mother has another child to give her first child someone to play with, then one could say that the second child has the purpose of pleasing the first child.

Many people view purpose and meaning as nothing but constructs of human intention.

We hope this article answered all of your questions about philosophy of life. If you have any remaining questions, or if you have any comments or suggestions, please post them in our Philosophy Forums.