Synopses & Reviews
Annihilation explores the sense and significance of death in general and human death in particular. The first part of the book examines questions about the nature of death. For example, is the death of the brain a necessary and sufficient condition of death? How does the death of a human being relate to the death of a person? The second part of the book questions whether death should be seen as bad, focusing on the Epicurean view that the fear of death is irrational because it cannot be experienced, noting that, for instance, while we worry about future non-existence, we don't concern ourselves with past non-existence. The final chapter considers whether immortality is desirable and whether cryonics, brain transplants, and data storage might allow us to cheat death. Christopher Belshaw's examination focuses on questions of value rather than on morality and his general approach throughout is sceptical. The book will be of interest to philosophers concerned with the nature and importance of death and provides a much-needed foundation for discussions of abortion, euthanasia, life support, and suicide.
"A very good book. It addresses many of the most interesting and important philosophical issues concerning death, is well-informed by the relevant literature, and offers Belshaw's distinctive and suggestive views on a range of issues. Belshaw offers a nice combination of philosophical rigour and a crisp, accessible writing style that should give the book a broad appeal." John Fischer, University of California, Riverside and editor of The Metaphysics of Death
"Annihilation reflects a thorough and broad understanding of existing philosophical literature on death. It is engaged and engaging: a valuable resource which serves to remind us that attempts to address philosophical puzzles about death need not come at the expense of what we really think and say." Byron J. Stoyles, Trent University
"This is a very good book. It is clearly written - and it is apparent that Belshaw is thinking carefully and deeply not just about the subject matter but also about how to do philosophy." Niall Conolly, Trinity College Dublin
Christopher Belshaw's examination focuses on questions of value rather than on morality and his general approach throughout is sceptical. The book will be of interest to philosophers concerned with the nature and importance of death and provides a much-needed foundation for discussions of abortion, euthanasia, life support, and suicide.
A suggestive and broad examination of the philosophical issues surrounding death.
About the Author
Christopher Belshaw is senior lecturer and staff tutor in philosophy at The Open University.