Friday, July 17, 2009

Steven Luper's "The Philosophy of Death"

Steven Luper is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Trinity University in San Antonia, Texas.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Philosophy of Death, and reported the following:
The Philosophy of Death is about what it is to live and to die, what it is about death that makes it a bad thing for some of those it takes, and what it is about some killings that makes them objectionable. Death is bad for its victims insofar as it deprives them of life that would have been good for them, and good for its victims insofar as it releases them from life that would have been bad. The wrongness of killing is bound up with the fact that killers give their victims bad deaths, but the full story is complicated. Some killings result in good deaths, and are not objectionable at all.

On Page 99 readers will find themselves in the midst of a discussion of a fascinating puzzle about the harmfulness of death. Suppose Fred died on April 4, 2009 in a climbing accident; had he not, he would have had 25 more good years, and then died. It seems that his death was very bad for him, given that it deprived him of something very good. But now suppose that, had Fred not died, he would have died the next day. Do we really want to say that, under these circumstances, Fred's death was not very bad at all, since he lost so little?
Read an excerpt from The Philosophy of Death, and learn more about the book at the Cambridge University Press website.

Learn more about Steven Luper's scholarship at his faculty webpage.

--Marshal Zeringue