Professor Kagan introduces the course and the material that will be covered during the semester. He aims to clarify what the class will focus on in particular and which subjects it will steer away from. The emphasis will be placed on philosophical questions that arise when one contemplates the nature of death. The first half of the course will address metaphysical questions while the second half will focus on value theory.
There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact? This course will examine a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality. The possibility that death may not actually be the end is considered. Are we, in some sense, immortal? Would immortality be desirable? Also a clearer notion of what it is to die is examined. What does it mean to say that a person has died? What kind of fact is that? And, finally, different attitudes to death are evaluated. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is suicide morally permissible? Is it rational? How should the knowledge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life?