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Search for Meaning as the Basic Human Motivation

A Critical Examination of Viktor Emil Frankl's Logotherapeutic Concept of Man

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Andrew Tengan

This work studies a topical issue: the feeling of meaninglessness in the lives of many people. It contends that traditional cultural values (mostly religious in character) gave meaning to human life. The traditional answers, however, have been eroded by secularism. Although commitment to a cause or to a person can ensure meaningfulness, in normal circumstances, it proves to be inadequate in ultimate situations such as unavoidable suffering. Hence, the writer argues that secular humanism cannot offer the profound metaphysical foundation which underlies Frankl's concept of man. Neither can secular humanism be the basis of the unconditional meaning of human life. Ultimate meaning involves an affirmation of God. This critical and expository study brings out the connection between philosophy, psychology and religion and points out that within that context Viktor Frankl is still an important figure.
Contents: Psychoanalysis - Existentialism - Phenomenology - Logotherapy - Religion - Conversion - Responsibility - Conscience - Paradoxical intention - Values - Suffering - Meaning.