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Winter Session Online Course: 12/26/17 - 1/12/18; Credit not awarded for more than one PHIL course below 100 except PHIL 013; Open to both CDE and Degree students; This course may or may not fulfill degree requirements for UVM students. Please consult with your Dean's Office if you have any questions about applicability of winter session courses toward graduation requirements.
We are all going to die. Everyone we know and everyone we care about is going to die. This, at least, is one truth we must all confront. Whether we cease to exist at our death is another question. But what should the prospect of our death mean to us? Should we fear it, loathe it, despair at its inevitability? Should we prepare for it and how could we? Can thinking about death be good for us? We will begin with some ancient arguments regarding the nature of death and whether it should be feared. We will discuss what philosophical reflection is and how we might begin to reflect on the nature and significance of death. We will explore Socrates’ claim that philosophy teaches us how to die. We will then move to some contemporary debates regarding these arguments, their role in philosophical reflection, and what they are meant to teach us about what are attitudes toward death should be and how philosophical reflection on the nature of death and dying might help us to both live better and die better. We will consider whether life after death is possible or even desirable, how knowledge of our eventual death influences how we live and our self-conception. We will also consider end of life decision making and various ethical implications regarding how we confront our own deaths and the deaths of others. Finally, we will consider whether and how the prospect of death relates to questions of “the meaning of life” or whether death renders life meaningless.
Online Course (View Campus Map)