Professor Kagan explores the issue of how thinking about death may influence the way we live. Fear as an emotional response to death is discussed as well as whether it is appropriate and under what conditions. A distinction is made between fear of the process of dying, and fear of death itself and what may come when one is dead. Finally, a number of other negative emotions are considered as possible appropriate responses to death and dying, such as anger, sadness, and sorrow.
There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact? This course will examine a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality. The possibility that death may not actually be the end is considered. Are we, in some sense, immortal? Would immortality be desirable? Also a clearer notion of what it is to die is examined. What does it mean to say that a person has died? What kind of fact is that? And, finally, different attitudes to death are evaluated. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is suicide morally permissible? Is it rational? How should the knowledge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life?
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