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Philosophical Thinking about Death and Dying 1st Edition

Vincent E. Barry

  • Published
  • 288 Pages


Plainly written, with timely illustrations and references, PHILOSOPHICAL THINKING ABOUT DEATH AND DYING introduces students to all the major metaphysical and ethical issues concerning death and dying. What exactly is death? What are the implications of knowing that we will die? Is death bad and the fear of it rational? Does life continue after bodily death? Does parapsychological research support life after death? How much control should we have over our own deaths? Can we ever have a duty to die? What's the relation between death and life? Such questions are organized around three themes: the nature of death, life after death, and voluntary death. Braced with a solid introduction and conclusion-the former prompted by Tolstoy's THE DEATH OF IVAN ILYICH, the latter by the modern challenge of nihilism-the text's twelve trim chapters provide students a concise and sturdy guide to the basic problems of both the nature of death and end-of-life decisions.

Vincent E. Barry, Bakersfield College

Vincent Barry has been professor of philosophy at Bakersfield College for over thirty years. In addition to authoring PHILOSOPHICAL THINKING ABOUT DEATH AND DYING, he is the co-author of three other widely read Wadsworth publications: APPLYING ETHICS, MORAL ISSUES IN BUSINESS and INVITATION TO CRITICAL THINKING. Currently, he lives in Santa Barbara with his wife Jeannine and his young daughter Jen-Li Rose, whom he and his wife adopted in China in 1997.
  • Introductions to each topic elicit interest and identification by setting it in a familiar context, such as the events of 9/11 or the death of Terri Schiavo.
  • Conclusions to each chapter highlight coverage and the natural progression of the topics.
  • Both classical and contemporary, the extensive end-of-text References, including websites, ground the text and direct further trans-curricular research.
  • The inclusion of inter-disciplinary material�from psychology, medicine, sociology, literature, and history, for example�enriches the coverage, sharpens critical thinking, and places philosophical thinking at the heart of death studies.
Introduction: Philosophical Thinking and Death.
Introduction: The 9/11 Memorial and Death Denial.
1. Definition and Criteria of Death.
2. Death in the West.
3. The Consciousness of Death.
4. The Evil of Death.
Introduction: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY.
5. The Self and Its Relation to Death.
6. Survival Hypotheses.
7. Bases of Belief.
Introduction: Quinlan, Perlmutter, and Cruzan.
8. Conceptual Issues in Suicide and Euthanasia.
9. History and Contemporary Opinion.
10. Individual Morality.
11. Social Policy and Law.
12. Futile Treatment and the Duty To Die.
Conclusion: Life, Death, and Meaning.