This page features a collection of the best resources on the meaning of life. To get started, simply choose the type of resource that best suits your learning style.
If you want a comprehensive overview:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on The Meaning of Life. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 9000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the idea:
“Many major historical figures in philosophy have provided an answer to the question of what, if anything, makes life meaningful, although they typically have not put it in these terms. Consider, for instance, Aristotle on the human function, Aquinas on the beatific vision, and Kant on the highest good. While these concepts have some bearing on happiness and morality, they are straightforwardly construed as accounts of which final ends a person ought to realize in order to have a life that matters. Despite the venerable pedigree, it is only in the last 50 years or so that something approaching a distinct field on the meaning of life has been established in Anglo-American philosophy, and it is only in the last 30 years that debate with real depth has appeared….”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
- Read Thaddeus Metz’s article: Happiness and Meaning in Life: The Sweet Spot Where They Meet [900 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
While these resources are a great starting point, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the Best Books on the Meaning of Life
The Daily Idea collects and organizes the best philosophy resources from across the internet to help make learning about philosophy as easy as possible. You can find an organized collection of introductory readings and free philosophy resources here. Or get started below by signing up for a free philosophy quote delivered to your inbox each day!