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Foot, Philippa, , . Euthanasia
1977, Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (2):85-112. Reprinted in her Virtues and vices. Oxford: Blackwell.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Comment: This text is of central interest in teaching about moral issues related to euthanasia. The text introduces the vital distinctions between active and passive, voluntary and nonvoluntary euthanasia, and argues in favour of moral permissibility of all but the active nonvoluntary type.

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Humphreys, , . Animal Thoughts on Factory Farms: Michael Leahy, Language and Awareness of Death
2008, Between the Species 13 (8): 1-16
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The idea that language is necessary for thought and emotion is a dominant one in philosophy. Animals have taken the brunt of this idea, since it is widely held that language is exclusively human. Michael Leahy makes a case against the moral standing of factory-farmed animals based on such ideas. His approach is Wittgensteinian: understanding is a thought process that requires language, which animals do not possess. But he goes further than this and argues that certain factory farming methods do not cause certain sufferings to the animals used, since animals lack full awareness of their circumstances. In particular he argues that animals do not experience certain sufferings at the slaughterhouse since, lacking language, they are unaware of their fate . Through an analysis of Leahy’s claims this paper aims to explore and challenge both the idea that thought and emotion require language and that only humans possess language

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O'Neill, Onora, , . Questions of Life and Death
2008, The Lancet 372:1291-1292.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: In Easeful Death: Is There a Case for Assisted Dying? Mary and Elisabeth Macdonald set out with exemplary clarity reasons for prohibiting or permitting physicians to ‘help’ patients to die. Their arguments are cogent, illuminating, and in many ways convincing. Yet I find myself disagreeing with their conclusion that assisted dying should be made lawful, and will set out why.

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Olberding, Amy, , Philip J. Ivanhoe (eds.). Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought
2011, SUNY Press.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Publisher’s note: Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought is the definitive exploration of a complex and fascinating but little-understood subject. Arguably, death as a concept has not been nearly as central a preoccupation in Chinese culture as it has been in the West. However, even in a society that seems to understand death as a part of life, responses to mortality are revealing and indicate much about what is valued and what is feared. This edited volume fills the lacuna on this subject, presenting an array of philosophical, artistic, historical, and religious perspectives on death during a variety of historical periods. Contributors look at material culture, including findings now available from the Mawangdui tomb excavations; consider death in Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist traditions; and discuss death and the history and philosophy of war.

Comment: This volume contains a number of excellent essays on mortality as it appears in Chinese philosophy. It would be useful in a history of Chinese philosophy course, or to provide an additional perspective in a course on philosophy of death, immortality and the afterlife. Of particular value for this purpose is Tao Jiang's chapter comparing Linji Yixuan's views on immortality to those of William James, discussing the degree to which remembrance counts as immortality.

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Rudder Baker, Lynne, , . Death and the Afterlife
2005, in William J. Wainwright (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: Monotheistic conceptions of an afterlife raise a philosophical question: In virtue of what is a postmortem person the same person who lived and died? Four standard answers are surveyed and criticized: sameness of soul, sameness of body or brain, sameness of soul-body composite, sameness of memories. The discussion of these answers to the question of personal identity is followed by a development of my own view, the Constitution View. According to the Constitution View, you are a person in virtue of having a first-person perspective, and a postmortem person is you if and only if that person has the same first-person perspective. The Christian doctrine of resurrection has three features: (i) a postmortem person is embodied; (ii) a postmortem person is identical to some premortem person; and (iii) the postmortem person owes existence to a miracle. I show how the Constitution View accommodates these three features.

Comment: Useful for an introductory philosophy of religion course, or a more specialised course on the afterlife. Because of the personal identity aspects here, Rudder Baker's account could also be applied to reincarnation: does the constitution view work here? Is it harder to maintain personal identity in reincarnation cases than in other cases of surviving our death?

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