God, Soul and the Meaning of Life

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2019)
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Part of the Elements Philosophy of Religion series, this short book focuses on the spiritual dimensions of life’s meaning as they have been discussed in the recent English and mainly analytic philosophical literature. The overarching philosophical question that this literature has addressed is about the extent to which, and respects in which, spiritual realities such as God or a soul would confer meaning on our lives. There have been four broad answers to the question, namely: God or a soul is necessary for meaning in our lives; they are not necessary for it; one or both would enhance the meaning in our lives; and they would detract from it. These views have been largely advanced in chronological order through the history of Western philosophy, with the view that life would be meaningless without God and a soul having been most prominent in the medieval period, the rejection of this claim having arisen in the modern era, and then sophisticated positions about enhancement or reduction having appeared in earnest only in the past 20 years. This book addresses all four positions, paying particular attention to the more recent views. Beyond familiarizing readers with these positions, it presents prima facie objections to them, points out gaps in research agendas, and suggests argumentative strategies that merit development.

Author's Profile

Thaddeus Metz
University of Pretoria


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