Death


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Beauty and aesthetics Bioethics Comparative philosophy Cosmopolitanism Death Ethics History of ideas Knowledge Logic and probability Meaning and the good life Metaphysics Philosophy of language Philosophy of mind Philosophy of religion Philosophy of science Political philosophy Thinkers and theories Values and beliefs Virtues and vices

A cemetery in Bristol, England, seen from a hot air balloon flight in August 2009. Photo by Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Essay/
Death
This mortal coil

The fear of death drives many evils, from addiction to prejudice and war. Can it also be harnessed as a force for good?

Jeff Greenberg

The Funeral of Shelley (1889), by Louis Édouard Fournier. Photo courtesy the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool/Alamy

Essay/
Rituals and celebrations
Death by design

We can chose how we live – why not how we leave? A free society should allow dying to be more deliberate and imaginative

Daniel Callcut

US Marines recover the body of a fallen comrade while under fire during the conflict in Vietnam in 1966. Photo by Larry Burrows/Time Life/Getty

Essay/
Death
The need for an ending

When a person goes missing, in war or in ordinary life, their story is cut off mid-sentence. A death can be easier to bear

Andy Owen

Photo by Annie Otzen/Getty

Essay/
Childhood and adolescence
The telling

When a parent dies by suicide, how the children are told casts a permanent shadow on their understanding of life and loss

Jesse Bering

Untitled (Brooklyn Bridge), no date (thought to be c1930) by Arthur Hammond, gelatin silver print. Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
The greatest use of life

The pragmatist philosopher William James had a crisp and consistent response when asked if life was worth living: maybe

John Kaag

The Triumph of Death, anonymous, early Renaissance. Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena. Photo by Scala/Getty

Essay/
Meaning and the good life
On going on and on and on

The fantasy of living forever is just a fig leaf for the fear of death – and comes at great personal cost

Paul Sagar

Antoñito. Romería de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, the Festival of Near-Death Experiences. Galicia, Spain, 1981. Photo by Cristina Garcia Rodero/Magnum

Essay/
Death
Against mourning

It takes a lifetime of preparation to grieve as the Stoics did – without weeping and wailing, but with a heart full of love

Brian D Earp

Female Ghost in the Moonlight. School of Katsushika Hokusai, Kaei era (1848-54) to Ansei era (1854-60). Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Essay/
Stories and literature
Ghosts on the shore

In Japan, ghost stories are not to be scoffed at, but provide deep insights into the fuzzy boundary between life and death

Christopher Harding

Cris Cristofaro holds his dog Dino as his beloved pet is sedated during an in-home euthanasia on 9 May 2012 in New York City. Photo by John Moore/Getty

Essay/
Ageing and death
Die like a dog

Pet dogs often have a peaceful death that forestalls protracted suffering and pain. Why can’t we do the same for humans?

Joseph Pierre