There is one thing we can be sure of: we are all going to die. But once we accept that fact, the questions begin. In this thought-provoking book, philosophy professor Shelly Kagan examines the myriad questions that arise when we confront the meaning of mortality. Do we have reason to believe in the existence of immortal souls? Or should we accept an account according to which people are just material objects, nothing more? Can we make sense of the idea of surviving the death of one's body? If I won't exist after I die, can death truly be bad for me? Would immortality be desirable? Is fear of death appropriate? Is suicide ever justified? How should I live in the face of death?
Written in an informal and conversational style, this stimulating and provocative book challenges many widely held views about death, as it invites the reader to take a fresh look at one of the central features of the human condition—the fact that we will die.
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1 Thinking about Death
2 Dualism versus Physicalism
3 Arguments for the Existence of the Soul
4 Descartes Argument
5 Plato on the Immortality of the Soul
6 Personal Identity
7 Choosing between the Theories
8 The Nature of Death
12 The Value of Life
13 Other Aspects of Death
14 Living in the Face of Death
Suggestions for Further Reading