shelly kagan

Death Without Religion


Many (obviously) look to religion for answers. Not me. Even if I consider myself somewhat religious, I have a hard time accepting the life-after-death claims of my own religion, Judaism. The dilemma is not uncommon: Although 80-90% of Americans believe in God, some 25-50% do not believe in life after death (the numbers depend on the study). So when considering death, many of us turn to less spiritual pursuits. Two recent books attempt exactly that: to explore the nature and meaning of death without religious filters. Shelly Kagan’s Death uses philosophy to define mortality and how best to live with the knowledge of it; Dick Teresi’s The Undead explores how science and technology is changing how we define death—and not for the better.

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