“True philosophy is that which makes us to ourselves and to all about us, better; and at the same time more content, patient, calm, and more ready for all decent and pure enjoyment.” – Johann Kaspar Lavater.

Last week marked the fourth anniversary of the first post on this site. As at the first three anniversaries, I think we should pause to take stock of our progress. The attentive reader knows that the majority of the  623 posts to date are not random essays, but a late draft of a philosophy book which seeks to draw together the thoughts of many great philosophers for constructing a meaningful life while factoring in appropriate advances in our scientific understanding of reality. Unfortunately, a final draft will have to be dramatically abbreviated which will be a later endeavor. For today I will summarize the road we have traveled to provide context for new and intermittent readers.

After a few introductory posts on defining philosophy and the site’s mission, I jumped into the Big Picture – the reduction of practical philosophy into its two major divisions:

[1] The nature of reality (9 posts from 11/9/18-12/3/18), and

[2] Ethics (13 posts from 12/5/18-1/4/19).

The key takeaways were that reality and ethics manifest at five levels or tiers, each of which requires reflection in fashioning a flourishing life – internal (the self), proximate (that which we directly contact), societal (the human world we know less directly), cosmic (Nature and the celestial), and ultimate (the transcendental). The nature of these tiers and our conduct with regards to them define the boundaries of the project.

I next took on eight special topics essential to expanding our understanding of reality and ethics that are the substrate for any system:

[1] Good and evil (10 posts from 1/6/19 -2/6/19),

[2] The question of God (19 posts from 2/8/19- 3/27/19),

[3] Body and soul (15 posts from 4/3/19 – 5/6/19),

[4] Death and immortality (24 posts from 5/13/9- 7/5/19),

[5] Free will, fate, and human destiny (42 posts from 7/17/19 – 10/23/19),

[6] Teleology (40 posts from 11/11/19 – 1/31/20),

[7] Suffering (40 posts from 2/10/20 – 5/11/20; including 7 on the COVID-19 pandemic).

[8] Certainty (38 posts from 5/18/20 – 8/14/20).

Conclusions on the big picture and the eight special topics were included in 5 review posts (8/17/20 – 8/28/20).

After that extended preparatory work, we arrived at the focus of the project- a systematic exploration of the concept of a meaningful life and a detailed analysis of the various components.

[1] Introduction to the Meaning of Life (21 posts from 9/2/20 -10/12/20 and 10/19/20-10/28/20).

[2] Virtue and the Meaning of Life (83 total posts divided as follows)

Introduction (5 posts 11/4/20-11/13/20);

Virtue and Self (13 posts 11/23/20-12/21/20);

Virtue and Others (10 posts 12/30/20-1/11/21 and 1/20/21);

Societal Virtue (13 posts 1/22/21-2/19/21);

Cosmic Virtue (40 posts 2/22/21-5/4/21 and 5/16/21-6/3/21);

Ultimate Virtue (1 post 6/7/21); and

Conclusion (2 posts 6/9/21-6/11/21).

[3] Purpose and the Meaning of Life ( 103 total posts divided as follows)

Introduction (4 posts 6/14/21 – 6/18/21 and 6/25/21);

Purpose and Internal Reality (6 posts 6/28/21-7/9/21);

Purpose and Proximate Reality/Others (41 posts 7/12-9/22/21; 10/8-10/11/21, and 10/18-11/1/21)

Purpose and Cultural Reality (30 posts 11/3/21-12/29/21 and 1/12/22-1/21/22)

Purpose and Cosmic Reality (20 posts 1/24/22-3/9/22)

Synopsis (2 posts 3/11/22 & 3/14/22)


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