The Philosophy of Death Reader

Cross-Cultural Readings on Immortality and the Afterlife

Markar Melkonian (Redaktør)

The Philosophy of Death Reader

The Philosophy of Death Reader presents a collection of classic readings from across the centuries and the continents. Organised around central metaphysical questions from whether soul is immortal to what can experience death, it brings together pivotal readings from ancient, modern and contemporary philosophers. Les mer
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The Philosophy of Death Reader

The Philosophy of Death Reader presents a collection of classic readings from across the centuries and the continents. Organised around central metaphysical questions from whether soul is immortal to what can experience death, it brings together pivotal readings from ancient, modern and contemporary philosophers.

The twenty-four readings require no background in philosophy. Featuring writings from Vedanta, the ancient Greeks, the Buddhist tradition, Christian eschatology, and recent analytic philosophy, they flow thematically and cover:

- Key metaphysical topics including immortality, rebirth and the after
- Scientific perspectives on biology and the brain
- Axiological questions surrounding old age, the soul and how to live with mortality

Accompanied throughout by editor's notes, introductory material, and discussion questions, this cross-cultural reader draws themes together, encourages further study and introduces a broad range of philosophical thinking about death.

Preface: What This Book Is (Not) About
Acknowledgements
General Introduction: What Is the Meaning of "Life"?
For Discussion or Essays
Further Readings on Brains, Death, and "Consciousness"

Part I: Our Immortal Souls
Introduction to Part One: Personal Survival and Immortality
1. The Soul Will Not Fade Away (from Phaedo, c. 360 BC)
Plato
2. Letter to Menoeceus (third century BC)
Epicurus
3. Ten Reasons for Believing in Immortality (1929)
John Haynes Holmes
4. Next Stop Goofville (1929)
Clarence Darrow
5. Death, Nothingness, and Subjectivity (1994)
Thomas W. Clark
For Discussion or Essays
Further Readings on Personal Survival and Immortality

Part II: Rebirth
Introduction to Part Two: Survival in a Different Body
6. The Katha Upanishad: Death as a Teacher (fifth cen. B.C.)
Anonymous
7. The Questions of King Milinda (first cen. AD?)
Anonymous
8. The World Outlook of the People (14th cen.)
Madhava Acharya
9. Nirodha, the Cessation of Dukkha (1959)
Walpola Rahula
For Discussion or Essays
Further Readings on Rebirth

Part III: Resurrection and the Afterlife
Introduction to Part Three: Resurrection and the Afterlife
10. Resurrection of the Same Body (13th century)
Aquinas, Thomas
11. Of a Particular Providence and of a Future State (1739-40)
David Hume
12. The Soul Survives and Functions after Death (1973)
H.H. Price
13. Persons and the Metaphysics of Resurrection (2007)
Lynne Rudder Baker
For Discussion or Essays
Further Readings on Resurrection and the Afterlife

Part IV: Problems with Immortality
Introduction to Part Four
14. On Mortality and the Soul (c. 50 B.C.)
Lucretius
15. The Hunger of Immortality (1913)
Miguel de Unamuno
16. The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality (1972)
Bernard Williams
17. Immortality without Boredom (2009)
Lisa Bortolotti and Yujin Nagasawa
18. Death and Eternal Recurrence (2013)
Lars Bergstroem
For Discussion or Essays
Further Readings on Problems with Immortality and the Eternal Return

Part V: Living with Mortality
Introduction to Part Five: Living with Mortality
19. "Supreme Happiness" (Fourth cen. B.C.)
Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi)
20. Death (1986)
Thomas Nagel
21. The Collective Afterlife (2013)
Samuel Scheffler
22. The Significance of Doomsday (2013)
Susan Wolf
23. Death, Failure, and Neoliberal Ideology (2016)
Beverley Clack
For Discussion or Essays
Further Readings on Living with Mortality

Readings that appear in this book
Index

A cross-cultural introduction to a broad range of thinking about death in ancient, modern, contemporary Western and Asian philosophy.

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