The fact that we will die, and that our death can come at any time, pervades the entirety of our living. There are many ways to think about and deal with death. Among those ways, however, a good number of them are attempts to escape its grip.
In this book, Todd May seeks to confront death in its power. He considers the possibility that our mortal deaths are the end of us, and asks what this might mean for our living. What lessons can we draw from our mortality? And how might we live as creatures who die, and who know we are going to die?
In answering these questions, May brings together two divergent perspectives on death. The first holds that death is not an evil, or at least that immortality would be far worse than dying. The second holds that death is indeed an evil, and that there is no escaping that fact. May shows that if we are to live with death, we need to hold these two perspectives together. Their convergence yields both a beauty and a tragedy to our living that are inextricably entwined.Drawing on the thoughts of many philosophers and writers - ancient and modern - as well as his own experience, May puts forward a particular view of how we might think about and, more importantly, live our lives in view of the inescapability of our dying. In the end, he argues, it is precisely the contingency of our lives that must be grasped and which must be folded into the hours or years that remain to each of us, so that we can live each moment as though it were at once a link to an uncertain future and yet perhaps the only link we have left.
About the Author
Todd May is Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of Philosophy at Clemson University, North Carolina.
Table of ContentsAcknowledgements 1. Our dealings with death 2. Death and immortality 3. Living with death Further reading Index