Synopses & Reviews
What is death? Do people survive death? What do we mean when we say that someone is "dying"? Presenting a clear and engaging discussion of the classic philosophical questions surrounding death, this book studies the great metaphysical and moral problems of death. In the first part, Feldman shows that a definition of life is necessary before death can be defined. After exploring several of the most plausible accounts of the nature of life and demonstrating their failure, he goes on to propose his own conceptual scheme for death and related concepts. In the second part, Feldman turns to ethical and value-theoretical questions about death. Addressing the ancient Epicurean ethical problem about the evil of death, he argues that death can be a great evil for those who die, even if they do not exist after death, because it may deprive them of the goods they would have enjoyed if they had continued to live. Confrontations with the Reaper concludes with a novel consequentialist theory about the morality of killing, applying it to such thorny practical issues as abortion, suicide, and euthanasia.
'\"Lucid, sensible, and insightful throughout. The criticisms of alternative approaches are particularly penetrating, and the positive suggestions are thoughtful....I have considerable admiration for this fine book. Feldman talks sense about difficult, murky, and perplexing matters.\"--J.M. Fischer, Philosophical Review
\"Exceptionally lucid and closely reasoned discussions of the nature of death, from a materialist point of view, and the (dis)value of death, from a consequentialist perspective.\"--Robert Frazier, Philosophical Books
\"This book is nearly ideal for engaging students in philosophy. It addresses important and interesting topics, and it is a model of clear thinking. Feldman demonstrates in a way accessible to nonspecialists how to evaluate reasons for a position by casting them in the form of an uncomplicated argument and how to undermine those reasons by constructing a counterexample to a clearly identified premise. The books frequent summaries make it easy for an undergraduate to follow, and the choice of examples ranges beyond the standard science-fiction cases.\"--Edward Wierenga, Teaching Philosophy
\"Confrontations contains useful and provocative contributions to the growing literature on the metaphysics and value of death. The extraordinary clarity of Feldman\'s style is also one of the book\'s virtues....Feldman has, through clear discussion and illuminating examples, enriched the framework in which philosophers may continue to examine important moral questions concerning death.\"--Stephen E. Rosenbaum, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
\"Replete with imaginative examples, systematic arguments, and some off-beat humour.\"--Times Literary Supplement
Includes bibliographical references (p. 239-242) and index.
About the Author
Author of Introductory Ethics
(1978), A Cartesian Introduction to Philosophy
(1986), and Doing the Best We Can: An Essay in Informal Deontic Logic
(1986), Fred Feldman
is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.