Political Theory on Death and Dying  book cover
1st Edition

Political Theory on Death and Dying

ISBN 9780367437411
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
492 Pages

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

Political Theory on 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 45 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 on 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. Memory and Mortality in Homer’s Odyssey

Rachel K. Alexander

2. Confucian Authority and the Politics of Caring

Li-Hsiang Lisa Rosenlee

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

Daniel Schillinger

4. Mortality, Recollection, and Human Dignity in Plato

Ann Ward

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

Marlene K. Sokolon

6. The Buddha, Death, and Taxes

Matthew J. Moore

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

Alex R Gillham

8. The Political Philosophy of Death in Laozi

Peng Yu

9. The Bhagavad Gītā and Paradox of Death

Stuart Gray

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

Carly T. Herold

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

Taylor W. Cyr

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

J. Michael Hoffpauir

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

James R. Stoner, Jr.

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

Alexander Orwin

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

Sean Hanretta

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

Joshua Parens

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

Faisal Baluch

18. Death in Montaigne’s Essays

Brandon Turner

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

Mary P. Nichols

20. Francis Bacon on "the Dolours of Death"

Erin A. Dolgoy

21. Descartes On How We Should Relate to Death

Frans Svensson

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

Kimberly Hurd Hale

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

Aaron L. Herold

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

Bradley R. Jackson

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

Jack Clinton Byham

26. Montesquieu on Death, Liberty, and Law

Trevor Shelley

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

Stephen Wirls

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

Daniel Cullen

29. Adam Smith and Dying Peacefully

Maria Pia Paganelli

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

Lauren K. Hall

31. Kant on Death and the Purpose of Human Life

Jeffrey Church

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

Bruce Peabody

33. Hegel on Death and the Spirit

Cecil L. Eubanks

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

Jamie Aroosi

35. Immortality and Angst in Tocqueville’s America

Benjamin T. Lynerd

36. "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. Death and Dynamism in Nietzsche’s Political Philosophy

Laura K. Field

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

Veena R. Howard

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

Michael Christopher Sardo

40. Death in Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time

Mark Menaldo

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

Tom Roach

42. Beauvoir’s Philosophy of Death and Aging

Kiki Berk

43. Metamorphoses: Gilles Deleuze on Living and Death

Chas. Phillips

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

Marguerite La Caze

45. Alasdair MacIntyre and the Twilight of the Virtues

John W. Schiemann

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Erin A. Dolgoy is assistant professor of philosophy and assistant professor of politics & law 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 associate 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 Erin A. Dolgoy) 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 on Death and Dying 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