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The Philosophy of Death


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Table of Contents

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.

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A lively and engaging discussion about the nature of death and the permissibility or otherwise of killing.

About the Author

Steven Luper is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department, Trinity University. He is author of Invulnerability: On Securing Happiness (1996) and his most recent edited volumes include Essential Knowledge (2004), The Skeptics: Contemporary Essays (2003) and Existing: An Introduction to Existentialist Thought (2000).


Luper (philosophy, Trinity Univ.) takes on one of the most important topics in philosophy, death. What does it mean to die? Can one live on after death? To understand what death is, mustn't one also understand what it is to be alive? To try to deal with these and other pertinent questions in a philosophical way, Luper grounds his study on ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus's statement that death cannot harm us. The author considers this in two parts, on dying and on killing, which includes suicide, euthanasia, and abortion. He refers throughout to the relevant philosophical literature and does philosophy as it should be done, with extremely close argumentation that requires absolute attention to follow the points being made. There are helpful summaries for each chapter, but make no mistake, this is not a book for beginners in philosophy. Verdict The subject will attract lay readers, who will be, for the most part, lost; however, this will be of most use in and is highly recommended for advanced academic library collections in philosophy.-Leon H. Brody, Falls Church, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

'... a comprehensive discussion of the metaphysical and moral aspects of death, and death's logical precursor, killing. Steven Luper is a major contributor to this fast-growing area of contemporary philosophy and he gives us a panoramic sweep of current literature, while making some important arguments of his own along the way.' F. Kaufman, Ithaca College
"... 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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