Political Theory on Death and Dying : Key Thinkers book cover
1st Edition

Political Theory on Death and Dying
Key Thinkers

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ISBN 9780367437411
September 6, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
544 Pages

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Book Description

Political Theory of Death and Dying provides a comprehensive, encyclopedic review that compiles and curates the latest scholarship, research, and debates on the political and social implications of death and dying.

Adopting an easy-to-follow chronological and multi-disciplinary approach on forty five canonical figures and thinkers, leading scholars from a diverse range of fields, including Political Science, Philosophy, and English, discuss each thinker’s ethical and philosophical accounts on mortality and death. Each chapter focuses on a single established figure in political philosophy, as well as religious and literary thinkers, covering classical to contemporary thought on death. Through this approach, the chapters are designed to stand alone, allowing the reader to study every entry in isolation and with greater depth, as well as trace how thinkers are influenced by their predecessors.

A key contribution to the field, Political Theory of Death and Dying provides an excellent overview for students and researchers who study philosophy of death, the history of political thought, and political philosophy.

Table of Contents


Erin A. Dolgoy, Kimberly Hurd Hale, and Bruce Peabody

1. Homer: "Memory and Mortality in Homer’s Odyssey"

Rachel K. Alexander

2. Confucius: "Confucian Authority and the Politics of Caring"

Li-Hsiang Lisa Rosenlee

3. Thucydides: ""Every Form of Death": Thucydides on Death’s Political Presence"

Daniel Schillinger

4. Plato: "Mortality, Recollection and Human Dignity in Plato"

Ann Ward

5. Aristotle: "Good Old Age: Aristotle and the ‘Virtues’ of Aging"

Marlene K. Sokolon

6. Buddha: "The Buddha, Death, and Taxes"

Matthew J. Moore

7. Epicurus: "Flourishing toward Dissolution: Epicurus on the Resilience of Tranquility"

Alex R Gillham

8. Laozi: "The Political Philosophy of Death in Laozi"

Peng Yu

9. Bhagavad Gītā: “The Bhagavad Gītā and Paradox of Death"

Stuart Gray

10. Marcus Tullius Cicero: "Life and Death as a Political Act: Cicero and the Stoics"

Carly T. Herold

11. Titus Lucretius Carus: "Prenatal and Posthumous Nonexistence: Lucretius on the Harmlessness of Death"

Taylor W. Cyr

12. Seneca the Younger: "The Road to Freedom: Seneca on Fear, Reason, and Death"

J. Michael Hoffpauir

13. St. Augustine: "Continuity Without Corruption: The Political Theology of Death in St. Augustine"

James R. Stoner, Jr.

14. Alfarabi: “Jihād for the City: How Alfarabi Discourages, and Encourages, Death in Battle"

Alexander Orwin

15. al-Ghazālī: “Techniques for the Social Self: Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī and the Remembrance of Death”

Sean Hanretta

16. Moses Maimonides: "Death and Dying, Mortality and Immortality in Moses Maimonides"

Joshua Parens

17. Niccolò Machiavelli: "The Young, the Old, and the Immortal: Machiavelli on Political Health and Aging"

Faisal Baluch

18. Michel de Montaigne: "Death in Montaigne’s Essays"

Brandon Turner

19. William Shakespeare: "When ‘Every Third Thought Shall Be My Grave’: Shakespeare’s King Lear and The Tempest"

Mary P. Nichols

20. Francis Bacon: "Francis Bacon on 'the Dolours of Death'"

Erin A. Dolgoy

21. René Descartes: "Descartes On How We Should Relate to Death"

Frans Svensson

22. John Milton: "‘The Wages of Sin’: Morality and Mortality in John Milton’s Paradise Lost"

Kimberly Hurd Hale

23. Benedict de Spinoza: "A Liberation From Fear: Benedict de Spinoza on Religion, Philosophy, and Mortality"

Aaron L. Herold

24. Thomas Hobbes: "Thomas Hobbes on the Uses and Disadvantages of Death for Political Life"

Bradley R. Jackson

25. John Locke: "The Role of Death and Eternity in Locke’s Political Philosophy"

Jack Clinton Byham

26. Montesquieu: "Montesquieu on Death, Liberty, and Law"

Trevor Shelley

27. David Hume: "Can Philosophy Console Us?: Hume’s Understanding of Mortality"

Stephen Wirls

28. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: "Jean-Jacques Rousseau on the Fear of Death and the Happiness of Life"

Daniel Cullen

29. Adam Smith: "Adam Smith and Dying Peacefully"

Maria Pia Paganelli

30. Edmund Burke: "Nature, Second Nature, and Supernature: Death and Consolation in the Thought of Edmund Burke"

Lauren K. Hall

31.Immanuel Kant: "Kant on Death and the Purpose of Human Life"

Jeffrey Church

32. Publius: "Overcoming the Mortal Diseases and Short Lives of Republican Governments: Publius and Political Immortality"

Bruce Peabody

33. Georg W. F. Hegel: "Hegel on Death and the Spirit"

Cecil L. Eubanks

34. Søren Kierkegaard: "Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death: Søren Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Love"

Jamie Aroosi

35. Alexis de Tocqueville: "Immortality and Angst in Tocqueville’s America"

Benjamin T. Lynerd

36. John Stuart Mill: "‘What is Odious in Death is not Death Itself, but the Act of Dying’: John Stuart Mill on the Political Philosophy of Death and Dying"

Helen McCabe

37. Friedrich Nietzsche: "Death and Dynamism in Nietzsche’s Political Philosophy"

Laura K. Field

38. Mohandas Gandhi: "Facing Death Fearlessly, So Others Can Live Without Fear: Gandhi’s Philosophy as Art of Dying"

Veena R. Howard

39. Hannah Arendt: "‘An Earthly Immortality’: Arendt on Mortality, Politics, and Political Death"

Michael Christopher Sardo

40. Martin Heidegger: "Death in Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time"

Mark Menaldo

41. Michel Foucault: "Make Live and Let Die: Michel Foucault, Biopower, and the Art of Dying Well"

Tom Roach

42. Simone de Beauvoir: "Beauvoir’s Philosophy of Death and Aging"

Kiki Berk

43. Gilles Deleuze: "Metamorphoses: Gilles Deleuze on Living and Death"

Chas. Phillips

44. Jacques Derrida: "Jacques Derrida on Death, the Death Penalty, and Mourning"

Marguerite La Caze

45. Alasdair MacIntyre: "Alasdair MacIntyre and the Twilight of the Virtues"

John W. Schiemann

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Erin A. Dolgoy is assistant professor of political science at Rhodes College. Her work has been published in Perspectives on Political Science, Utopian Studies (with Kimberly Hurd Hale), and Political Science Reviewer (with Kimberly Hurd Hale). She is co-editor (with Kimberly Hurd Hale and Bruce Peabody) of Short Stories and Political Philosophy: Power, Prose, and Persuasion (2019).

Kimberly Hurd Hale is assistant professor of politics at Coastal Carolina University. She is author of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis in the Foundation of Modern Political Thought (2013), The Politics of Perfection: Technology and Creation in Literature and Film (2016), and co-editor (with Erin A. Dolgoy and Bruce Peabody) of Short Stories and Political Philosophy: Power, Prose, and Persuasion (2019).

Bruce Peabody is professor of government and politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is the co-editor (with Gloria Pastorino) of Beyond the Living Dead: Essays on the Romero Legacy (2021), co-editor (with Kimberly Hurd Hale and Bruce Peabody) of Short Stories and Political Philosophy: Power, Prose, and Persuasion (2019), and co-author (with Krista Jenkins) of Where Have all the Heroes Gone: The Changing Nature of American Valor (2017).


"Through its chronological approach, and dedication of each chapter to a different classical text or philosopher, this multi-author volume provides a very useful way of getting at the topic of death in the history of philosophy."

Adam Buben, Leiden University

"An extraordinary collection--45 essays on the thought of thinkers from Homer to MacIntyre on death and dying, broadly understood to include aging and after-death possibilities. Always informative--often insightful--frequently provocative."

Michael Zuckert, Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame

"In the year of COVID-19 comes this timely new book about one of the most fundamental issues in philosophy: death and dying. The Political Theory of Death is a wonderful compendium of how 45 of the greatest philosophers from Homer to MacIntyre have tackled the problem of death, and, more importantly, its antipode: life! This book will challenge readers to reconsider how they live their lives in the face of the final horizon. Young or old, this is a must-read book. I highly recommend it!"

C. Bradley Thompson, Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism and Professor of Political Science, Clemson University

"By thoughtfully engaging writings on death from multiple cultures, historical epochs, and thinkers in diverse religious and political traditions, this collection will be a definitive resource for anyone interested in the breadth of human reflection on this universal topic."

Brian Howell, Professor of Anthropology, Wheaton College