Death and Philosophy

Death and Philosophy

Death and Philosophy

Death and Philosophy

Synopsis

Death and Philosophy considers these questions with different perspectives varying from the existentialist - deriving from Camus, Heidegger or Sartre, to the English speaking analytic tradition of Bernard Williams or Thomas Nagel; to non-wester approaches such as are exemplified in the Tibetan Book of the Dead and in Daoist thought; to perspectives influenced by Lucretious, Epicurus and Nietzsche. Death and Philosophy will be of great interest to philosphers, or those studying religion and theology, buts its clarity and scope ensures it will be accessible to anyone who has considered what it means to be mortal.

Excerpt

‘Call no man happy until he is dead’ wrote unhappy Aeschylus. ‘Death is nothing’ opined the much more contented Epicurus. ‘Death is not an event in life. Death is not lived through’ wrote the early Wittgenstein. Woody Allen, following similar logic perhaps, insisted that he was not afraid to die, adding ‘I just don’t want to be there when it happens.’ When the subject is death, bon mots and deep insights, witty wisecracks and gloomy reflections intermingle. Death may be a morbid subject, but conversations and shared reflections about death have a way of producing gaiety and good humour rather than gloom, of enhancing life and forging friendships. This collection has its origins in such a conversation. The setting was remarkable: a secluded location overlooking sea, sand and soft green hills in the Bay of Islands, north of Auckland, New Zealand. No less remarkable was the hospitality of our host, Peter Kraus, who organized the meeting, and who supplied seemingly endless enthusiasm as well as excellent food and drink. Most remarkable of all, however, was undoubtedly the spirit that developed among the participants over the few days the meeting extended. When our time together came to an end, we not only left with an intense feeling of intellectual exhilaration, and some vivid memories, but with new and strengthened bonds of friendship. Such an occasion can scarcely be done justice by any collection of scholarly papers, and so this collection stands, not so much as an expression of the occasion, as a memorial to it. Special thanks are due, not only to Peter Kraus for organizing and hosting the conference, but also to those who participated and whose contributions are not contained here—Anne Salmond and Bruce Cliffe—and to all those who helped make the conference such a success, especially Hannelore Kraus, Avis Mountain, Martina Lutz, and Rose Bradford.

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