Table of Contents


Part I: Epistemology, Metaphysics and Death

A. Epistemological Issues

  1. Paul Edwards (1969). “Existentialism and Death: A Survey of Some Confusions and Absurdities”

B. Personal Identity and Survival

  1. Plato. Excerpts from Phaedo
  2. John Perry (1978). Excerpts from A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality
  3. Stephen T. Davis (1988). “Traditional Christian Belief in the Resurrection of the Body”

C. The Nature of Death

  1. Louis Pojman (1992). “What is Death? The Crisis of Criteria”
  2. Jeff McMahan (1995). “The Metaphysics of Brain Death”
  3. Fred Feldman (1992). “The Enigma of Death”

Part II: The Badness of Death

A. Ancient Reflections on the Badness of Death

  1. Epicurus. “Letter to Menoeceus” and “The Principal Doctrines”
  2. Titus Lucretius Carus. Excerpts from Book Three of On the Nature of Things

B. Some Recent Responses

  1. Thomas Nagel (1979). “Death”
  2. Harry S. Silverstein (1980). “The Evil of Death”

C. The Goodness of Immortality

  1. Bernard Williams (1973). “The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality”
  2. John Martin Fischer (1994). “Why Immortality is Not So Bad”

D. Gender and the Badness of Death

  1. Samantha Brennan (2006). “Feminist Philosophers
    Turn Their Thoughts to Death”

Part III: The Ethics of Killing

A. Three Case Studies in the Ethics of Killing


  1. Judith Jarvis Thomson (1971). “A Defense of Abortion”
  2. Don Marquis (1989). “Why Abortion is Immoral”
  3. Walter Sinnot-Armstrong (1999). “You Can’t Lose What You
    Ain’t Never Had: A Reply to Marquis on Abortion”


  1. James Rachels (1975). “Active and Passive Euthanasia”
  2. Bonnie Steinbock (1979). “The Intentional Termination of Life”


  1. Richard Brandt (1975). “The Morality and Rationality of Suicide”
  2. John Rawls, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Robert Nozick, Ronald Dworkin, T.M. Scanlon, and Thomas Nagel (1997). “Assisted Suicide:
    The Philosopher’s Brief”

B. The Wrongness Of Killing

  1. Jonathan Glover (1977). “The Sanctity of Life”
  2. Jeff McMahan (2002). “The Wrongness of Killing and the Badness of Death”
  3. Samantha Brennan (2001). “The Badness of Death, the Wrongness of Killing, and the Moral Importance of Autonomy”


Posted on October 29, 2015