No one who reads this book will ever again think of his or her own death in the same way. The first part of the book consists of a thought-provoking essay, in which Fingarette examines the metaphors which mislead us: death as parting, death as sleep, immortality as the denial of death, and selflessness as a kind of consolation. He also thinks through some of the more illuminating metaphors: death as the end of the world for me, death as the conclusion of a story, life as ceremony, and life as a tourist visit to earth.
The author offers no facile consolation, but he identifies the true root of fear of death, and explains how the meaning of death can be reconceived. The second part comprises writings on death by other philosophers including classic selections from the Bhagavad Gita, Arthur Schopenhauer, Sigmund Freud, Chuang Tzu, David Hume, Albert Camus, Blaise Pascal, Leo Tolstoy, Eugene Ionesco, Marcus Aurelius, Michel de Montaigne, and Bertrand Russell.
“An excellent treatment that invites the reader in to share a warm meal of healthy contemplation.”Brian BruyaPhilosophy Editor, amazon.com
“This book’s questions are at one and the same time philosophical and personal. . . . A diversity of philosophical insights are harvested during the reflective, critical work which makes up Fingarette’s extended essay. . . the style is direct, what it expresses is expressed clearly and with simplicity, and what comes through it is the author’s seriousness and humility.”Ilham DilmanUniversity of Wales, Swansea
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