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

Photo by Jon Higgs/Gallery Stock

Essay/
Death
Not nothing

The death of a fly is utterly insignificant – or it’s a catastrophe. How much should we worry about what we squash?

Stephen Cave

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

A seance in Paris, circa 1900. Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty

Essay/
Death
Life after death

The idea of life after death lives on in near-death experiences and messages from beyond the grave. What’s the evidence?

Jesse Bering

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

‘You could walk around a simulated city street, feel a cool breeze, enjoy yourself.’ Photo courtesy IGN/Playstation Home

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
Endless fun

The question is not whether we can upload our brains onto a computer, but what will become of us when we do

Michael Graziano

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

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

A funeral in Italy, 1951. Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Death
The death of my father

When someone close to you dies, the very fabric of your life is ripped to shreds. Is philosophy any consolation?

Julian Baggini

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

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

Charlie’ Bird’ Parker, centre, New York City, 1949. Collection F. Driggs/Magnum

Essay/
Death
Why is death bad?

Even without a hereafter, dying gets a bad rap. But why exactly is it no good – because of what happens, or what doesn’t?

Eric Olson

Photo by Aeon

Essay/
Death
Nadia’s story

It is a decision that no parent should have to make: should we let our very sick baby die before she is born?

Ana Todorović

Medical students make use of a cadaver left to science at the Humboldt University, Berlin. Photo by DPA/PA

Essay/
Death
I’d rather be dissected

There are not enough whole-body donations to science. Why don’t people want their death to help the living?

Brooke Borel

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

Detail from Champignons Suspects, coloured lithograph by A Cornillon, c.1827. Photo courtesy Wellcome Images

Essay/
Death
Last supper

Like the deadly pufferfish, wild mushrooms are for culinary daredevils. Care to play Russian roulette with your dinner?

Cal Flyn