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The Philosophy of Death


  • Page extent: 264 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.52 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521882491)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$104.00 (P)

The Philosophy of Death is a discussion of the basic philosophical issues concerning death, and a critical introduction to the relevant contemporary philosophical literature. Luper begins by addressing questions about those who die: What is it to be alive? What does it mean for you and me to exist? Under what conditions do we persist over time, and when do we perish? Next, he considers several questions concerning death, including: What does dying consist in; in particular, how does it differ from ageing? Must death be permanent? By what signs may it be identified? Is death bad for the one who dies? If so why? Finally he discusses whether, and why, killing is morally objectionable, and suggests that it is often permissible; in particular, (assisted) suicide, euthanasia and abortion may all be morally permissible. His book is a lively and engaging philosophical treatment of a perennially fascinating and relevant subject.


Part I. Dying: 1. Introduction; 2. Life; 3. Death; 4. Challenges; 5. Mortal harm; 6. The timing puzzle; Part II. Killing: 7. Killing; 8. Suicide and euthanasia; 9. Abortion.


"... The central virtue of Luper's book is its clarity of exposition. Luper skillfully navigates some very difficult issues in metaphysics and ethics, but without losing sight of the central problems he hopes to address. Objections are taken seriously throughout the text, and Luper does a commendable job meeting these objections when possible, and seeing their limitations when not. An additional virtue of Luper's book is the nuance he brings to bear on these philosophically significant issues... Luper does an admirable job excavating the most powerful arguments in the abortion debate, as well as showing where and how these arguments face obstacles. This is no small contribution... Given Luper's task, his treatment of the harm of death and the wrongness of killing are a substantial contribution to our philosophical ruminations on these issues."
--J. Jeremy Wisnewski, Metapsychology Online Reviews, Volume 14

..."The Philosophy Of Death" by Steven Luper (Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department, Trinity University" is such a timely and highly recommended title for both academic library Philosophy collections and so well written that it is fully accessible and enthusiastically commended for non-specialist general readers as well... A work of impressive and comprehensive scholarship, "The Philosophy Of Death" is enhanced with an extensive section of references and a thorough index
--Midwest Book Review

"Luper (philosophy, Trinity Univ.) takes on one of the most important topics in philosophy, death... this will be of most use in and is highly recommended for advanced academic library collections in philosophy."
—Leon H. Brody, Falls Church, VA, Library Journal

"...Luper’s book is well-suited to serve two purposes. It is a good introduction to these topics for the nonspecialist, due to the generally jargon-free writing style and the careful, thorough and charitable treatment of opposing views... It also makes a useful contribution to the philosophical literatures on the badness of death and the wrongness of killing; philosophers working on these topics will profit from reading it. The arguments are clearly stated and often convincing..."
--Ben Bradley, Syracuse University

"... the book is clearly and engagingly written, and would be a useful component of courses in bioethics, biomedical ethics, and metaphysics..."
--Harry S. Silverstein, Professor Emeritus, Washington State University, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"...offers a series of finely tuned analyses of the concepts of life and existence, death, dying, harm, and interests... The book emphasizes choosing a responsible method and taking into account foresight and intention... [Recommended]..."
--J.A. Kegley, California State University, Choice

"....coherently gathers in one place the thought of a philosopher who has been considering the philosophical problems of death for 25 years.... serves as an overview of the terrain, and, the first part especially, could serve as a primary text for a class on life and death. It is also an excellent starting point for trained philosopher wishing to begin thinking about these issues. Each of these features is made all the more valuable by the fact that the book contains discussions of both abstract topics such as fear of death and posthumous harm as well as of practical issues like euthanasia and abortion."
--Jeremy R. Simon, Columbia University, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

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