I am working through the material on unit three and will add to the discussion activity wall as soon as possible..
III. Unit 3: The Value of Death (10/25-11/4)
This study group uses as its foundation the PHILOSOPHY 201: The Philosophy of Death course at the Saylor Foundation (www.saylor.org).
You may access the study group materials for Unit 3: The Value of Death at: http://www.saylor.org/courses/phil201/
Read, watch and listen to the following materials embedded within each subunit at http://www.saylor.org/courses/phil201/
UNIT 3: THE VALUE OF DEATH (October 25th-November 4th)
Whether or not we really understand what death is, there remains the question of what our attitude toward it should be. Most people tend to regard death as a bad thing, and their emotional attitude toward it is usually sadness, anxiety or fear. But do we really have good reasons for thinking that death, in and of itself, is bad? Perhaps it is only the aspects of life leading up to death that are dreadful. Would we be better off if we never died, but just went on living forever? In this unit, we will cover three closely related topics: the (alleged) badness of death, how the fact that we will die should influence the way we live, and whether it is ever appropriate to bring about our own death prematurely, by committing suicide. We will consult with several important contemporary philosophers, as well as with the great Renaissance essayist Michel de Montaigne, the Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, and the late existentialist Walter Kaufmann.
3.1 Is Death Bad?
3.1.1 Death Is Bad because Life Is Good
Reading: Professor David Banach’s version of Professor Thomas Nagel’s “Death” Article
3.1.2 Death Cannot Be Bad Because Only Things in Life Can Be Bad
Reading: University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Professor Fred Feldman’s “Brueckner and Fischer on the Evil of Death” Article
3.1.3 The Badness of Death: The Deprivation Account
Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Shelly Kagan’s “The Badness of Death, Part II: The Deprivation Account” Lecture
3.1.4 Michel de Montaigne against the Badness of Death
Reading: Project Gutenberg’s version of Michel de Montaigne’s “That To Study Philosophy is to Learn to Die” Essay
3.1.5 The Badness of Death and the Badness of Eternal Life
Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Shelly Kagan’s “The Badness of Death, Part III; Immortality, Part I” Lecture
3.1.6 Jonathan Swift on the Badness of Immorality
Reading: The Literature Network’s version of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part III, Chapter X
3.1.7 The Badness of Eternal Life Reconsidered
Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Shelly Kagan’s “Immortality, Part II; The Value of Life, Part I” Lecture
3.2 The Value of Life
3.2.3 Reasons Why Death Is Bad and Whether It Should Change Our Behavior
Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Shelly Kagan’s “Other Bad Aspects of Death, Part II” Lecture
3.2.4 Some Existentialist Approaches to Death
Reading: Taimar Khan’s Alifbébé: Walter Kaufmann’s “Death without Dread” Essay
3.2.5 An Epicurean Argument against Fearing Death
Reading: Project Gutenberg’s version of Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things: “Folly of the Fear of Death”
3.2.7 Death as Motivation… But for What?
Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Shelly Kagan’s “How to Live Given the Certainty of Death” Lecture
DISCUSSION #3 on ACTIVITY WALL
(Initial comments by November 1st; follow-up comments by November 4th)
Michel de Montaigne’s “That To Study Philosophy is to Learn to Die” essay
Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Part III, Chapter X
Walter Kaufmann’s “Death without Dread” Essay
Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things: “Folly of the Fear of Death”
After completing Unit 3, please post your comments on the following philosophical issues on the P2PU Activity Wall for this study group:
- Explain how one’s philosophical attitude about death affects one’s philosophical attitudes in life.
- Argue for or against the moral and philosophical appropriateness of ending one’s own life.
- Describe how philosophers and writers such as Lucretius, Montaigne, Swift, and Walter Kaufmann frame contemporary attitudes about death.
Post your initial comments on the P2PU Activity Wall by midnight (Eastern time) on November 1st Then, between November 1st and November 4th please make certain to read the comments of other study group members and post a few follow-up comments that engage your colleagues’ comments. Please make sure to reply to the initial posts by midnight (Eastern time) on November 4th.