3 Answers

  1. I found more books on the philosophy of death in a very cool group in the VK ” Philosophy.The science. Culture”

    Kierkegaard S.-Disease to death.(Philosophical technologies).

    Kozhev A.-The idea of death in Hegel's philosophy.

    Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. About death and dying.

    Arjesus f_man Facing Death_

    Mineev Nefedov The Man and his death.

    Gaidenko P. P. “Breakthrough to the transcendent”,

    Borodai Yu. M. Erotica, death, taboo the tragedy of human consciousness.

    Yankelevich V. Смерть Death.

    Isupov K. G. (comp.) – Russian philosophy of death.An anthology.-

    And a good review article on this issue by P. P. Gaidenko in the same group.�

    DEATH is the cessation of life, the natural end of a single living being, or the violent killing of not only individuals, but also entire species of animals and plants due to environmental disasters and man's predatory attitude to nature. Since man, unlike other living beings, is aware of his mortality, death appears for him as a constitutive moment of his life and worldview. In this regard, from the point of view of understanding the fact and meaning of death as the final moment of human life, death of the chief of O. and considered philosophy.

    The attitude to death largely determines the forms of religious cults. For example, for the ancient Egyptians, the earthly existence of a person acts as a preparation for the afterlife. Hence – the cult of the dead, the construction and decoration of tombs, dwellings of the dead, the art of embalming, etc. In the East, the “habitation” of the fact of death is expressed in the cult of ancestors: the ancient Japanese believed that a person after death continues to exist in his descendants and only in their absence dies completely. As family and community ties weaken, death is increasingly experienced as one's own inevitable death, and the cult of ancestors is based not so much on direct feeling as on tradition. Nevertheless, even in our time there are attempts to overcome the tragedy of death with the help of a revived cult of ancestors (for example, the idea of raising dead fathers by means of modern science in N. F. Fedorov).

    In most ancient cultures, the attitude to death has an epic character (an important exception is the Akkadian epic of Gilgamesh, the earliest version of which dates back to the 2nd millennium BC, and the most complete-to the 7th – 6th centuries BC). A different, tragic attitude to death arises in the so – called “axial age” (Jaspers) and is characteristic of new religions-Buddhism in India, Zoroastrianism in Iran, Judaism (especially the age of the prophets), Taoism in China, the religious and philosophical movement in Greece 7-4 centuries BC (in particular, among the Orphics and Pythagoreans).

    These spiritual phenomena testified to a heightened sense of personal existence. In antiquity, one of the attempts to overcome the fear of death was the teaching of Socrates, who, according to Plato, believed that “those who are truly devoted to philosophy are, in fact, engaged in only one thing – dying and dying” (Phaedo, 64A). Plato adopted the Orphic-Pythagorean idea that death is the separation of the soul from the body, its release from the “prison” where it resides in its earthly life. The soul and the body originally belong to two different worlds – the soul comes from the eternal and unchangeable world of ideas, where it returns after the death of the body, and the latter turns into dust and decay, to which it belonged from the very beginning. The teachings of Socrates, Plato, and the Neo-Platonists about the immortality of the soul were later accepted by Christianity, although in a transformed form, and for many centuries became a defining tradition in European life.

    A different attitude to death is formed in stoicism and especially in Epicureanism. While the Stoics, like Socrates, strive to free man from the fear of death, they point out its universality and naturalness: all things in the world have an end, and this is so natural that it is unwise to fear death. Epicurus makes the following argument: death should not be feared, because a person “does not meet” with it: when a person is, there is no death, and when death comes, a person is no more, so death does not exist for the living or the dead. Despite the fact that Platonism and Epicureanism are opposed in their content, they are united by a specifically Greek rationalism in the very approach to the fact of death, connected with the understanding of being as an eternally equal cosmos. The latter either remains motionless, as in the case of the Eleatics or Plato, or performs cyclical changes in an ever-repeating rhythm (Heraclitus, the Stoics). Therefore, Greek philosophy seeks support for a person in the face of death or in the eternity of the cycle of being itself (the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, see fig. Metempsychosis), or in the consciousness of the fatal inevitability of this cycle, in the humble and reasonable acceptance of its naturalness and irrevocability. “You can't be happy when you want what's impossible… …He who desires the impossible is a slave and a fool who rebels against his master, God. Our master wants us to be happy, but for this we must remember that everything that is born must die… ” (Epictetus. What is our good? – Roman Stoics. Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, Moscow, 1995, p. 217).

    The fact of death is interpreted differently in Judaism and Christianity. In the Old Testament, however, there is a characteristic attitude for ancient cultures to death as the end of the path of a finite being: This is how the death of Patriarch Abraham is perceived:” And Abraham died, and died in a good old age, old and full of life, and was gathered to his people ” (Gen. 25.8). But since man is understood here not as a natural being, but as a super-natural being who conducts a dialogue with God, a new attitude appears to death as a punishment that befell a person as a result of the fall: “God did not create death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living” (Prem. 1.13), “God created man for incorruption… but through the envy of the devil death entered the world” (Prem. 2: 23-24). Death, therefore, indicates the presence of sin in the created world: in relation to sinners, death is not just their natural fate, but the punishment for their sins. The desire to overcome the meaninglessness of the eternal cycle of nature leads – especially in the later books of the Old Testament, in the prophets-to the emergence of faith in the coming eschatological kingdom, when “death will be swallowed up forever, and the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and remove the reproach from his people throughout all the earth” (Isaiah 25.8). Christianity borrows from Judaism the attitude to death as a punishment for human sinfulness. The New Testament sharpens the dramatic experience of death as the end of personal existence, and focuses on the theme of human salvation – the overcoming of death by the God-Man Christ, who redeemed the sins of humanity by his death on the cross and put an end to the reign of death by the miracle of his resurrection. Since men are “partakers of flesh and blood, He also received them, so that by death He might take away the power of him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who, through the fear of death, were subject to bondage all their lives” (Hebrews 2: 14-15). Christ became “the firstborn from the dead “(Rev. 1.5), and this is the key to immortality and resurrection in the flesh for all Christian believers. The miracle of Christ's resurrection, unacceptable to Judaism, combined Old Testament supranaturalism with the intense experience of the finiteness of human existence at the turn of the old and new eras.

    Together with the process of secularization, which began in the Renaissance and deepened in the Enlightenment, a pantheistic worldview is emerging, based partly on ancient philosophy, especially Neoplatonism and Stoicism, and partly on the occult-magical and Gnostic-Hermetic traditions (G. K. Agrippa, Paracelsus, J. Bruno). Pantheism, realized in the teachings of Spinoza, Fichte, Hegel, Goethe and others, leads to the denial of the transcendence of God and the Christian understanding of death as a transition from the immanent to the transcendent world. As it merges with the Enlightenment, pantheism shifts the center of gravity from faith to reason. According to Spinoza, ” a free man thinks of nothing so little as death, and his wisdom consists in thinking not about death, but about life “(Izbr. prozv., vol. 1. Moscow, 1957, p. 576).

    In the 18th and 19th centuries, the principle of immanentism developed by pantheistic philosophy with its transfer of the semantic center to this world was transformed by the Enlightenment into the idea of progress, developed in two versions – positivist (Comte, Spencer) and idealistic (Fichte, Hegel). The idea of progress combined the Judaist-Christian understanding of the world as history, movement towards the future, through which the present receives meaning, with the understanding of the world as nature, and of man as a sensuous being endowed with reason belonging to this world. The crisis of this idea led to the disintegration of the merged tendencies in it: on the one hand, in the person of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Ed. Hartmann and others. naturalism triumphed, and on the other hand, the aspiration to the early Christian tradition (Kant, Kierkegaard, K. Barth). The first direction, which was based on positivism and the philosophy of life, tended to “Dionysianism” with its cult of Eros and death, which ultimately acted as the final moment of Bacchanalian rapture and final merging with the dark primordial basis of being. Schopenhauer, however, having recognized being as the dark element of the irrational will, rejected it and saw the only way out of the endless run through the circle of desires and sufferings of the unquenchable will in refusing to participate in the cycle of life and plunging into the nirvana of non-existence. On the contrary, Nietzsche fully accepted the element of life in all its unrestrained power, rejecting as a destructive illusion not only the belief in the other world, but also the moral values that bind the energy of a strong personality – the “superman”. Nietzschean worldview is reproduced in the 20th century. – in different versions-by Spengler, Ortega y Gasset, Sartre, Camus, etc. Another branch of the naturalistic trend is developed by Freudianism (which, however, emphasized the positivist motif to a greater extent), which is based on the intuition of the inner connection between eros and death.

    The opposite trend, which emerged with the weakening of faith in progress, turned out to be the Christian tradition, mostly of its Protestant branch. This tradition is represented by dialectical theology (K. Barth, R. Bultmann, P. Tillich), German and Russian versions of existentialism (early M. Heidegger, K. Jaspers, L. Shestov, N. A. Berdyaev), as well as M. Buber, G. Marcel, etc. Relying on Kierkegaard, representatives of this trend try to return to early Christianity (and Shestov and Buber – to the Old Testament), which allowed a person to experience his death as a religious sacrament of the union of the transcendent (divine) and immanent (human). Although death appears as something absurd for a person who is guided by the reason of “this world”, but this is not the absurdity of Camus and Sartre: it arises not from the meaninglessness of being, but from the transcendence and concealment of its meaning from man. You can't know it, you can only believe in it. There is no bridge between the two worlds, and you can only jump from one to the other without knowing in advance whether you will fall into the “abyss”.

    Among the 20th-century philosophers who regarded death as the most important constitutive moment of human consciousness and human life in general, it is necessary to highlight M. Scheler and Heidegger in particular. Scheler tried to apply the method of phenomenology to show how “transcendence” is experienced in the immanent world of consciousness, i.e., how the mortality of a person, his finiteness determines the entire structure of his theoretical thinking, his contemplation and activity. As the moment that constitutes human consciousness, Scheler takes not the empirical fact of death itself, but the experience of it throughout human life (see M. Scheler. Schriften aus dem Nachlaß, Bd. 10. В., 1957, S. 12). Scheler's thesis that only by returning to existence in the face of death does a person acquire the meaning of life, freed from the false goals and activities that industrial civilization fills his life with, appears in Heidegger's teaching about the” real “existence of a person – in the face of death, and” inauthentic”, in which a person plunges into the world of impersonal” man”, where others die, but never himself, receiving the illusion of immortality and” forgetting ” about death as the last possibility of human existence (M. Heidegger. Sein und Zeit. Tüb., 1960, S. 237). Pointing out that man as a finite being is “being-to-the-end”, “being-to-death”, Heidegger, however, distanced himself from Scheler, who rooted the human personality in the supramundane God:” abandoned ” in the world, man in the face of death in Heidegger is extremely lonely. It is not by chance that Heidegger's early works were interpreted in an atheistic spirit by the French existentialists Sartre and Camus.

    The theme of death occupies an important place in Russian literature, poetry, and religious philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries.Dostoevsky, V. S. Solovyov, S. N. Trubetskoy, S. N. Bulgakov, L. Shestov and others. It should be noted that the work of Tolstoy (especially his “Death of Ivan Ilyich”) It had a strong influence on German and French thought in the 20th century and, in particular, on the understanding of death as a constitutive moment of human consciousness.

    P. P. Gaidenko

    Many thanks to the admins of this wonderful group!

  2. About death.I would start with The Phaedo, Plato's surprisingly optimistic dialogue describing the last day of Socrates ' life. Then, so as not to make any sudden jumps in time, I would read “Bardo Thedol“, the Tibetan book of the dead, which, like the Egyptian one, is a kind of guide for the deceased, who is in the Bardo state, to the afterlife. Unlike the Egyptian prototype, it is so deeply psychological that it strikes even our rational, non-Buddhist mind. Further, I would advise you to pay attention to the work of Marie-Francois Xavier Bichat, actually the founder of thanatology “Physiological studies on life and death“, where death appears as a lack of vital forces capable of resisting it. Schopenhauer and Feuerbach are essentially about immortality, only in different ways. “The Myth of Sisyphus” by Camus represents death in the understanding of existentialists, it is essentially about the equivalence of “learning to live and learning to die”. To be honest, I can't think of any other philosopher)

  3. Paul Young “The Cabin” – the story of a father who lost his daughter-she was brutally killed by a maniac. Despondency, loss of faith, loss of meaning in life, inner protest, weakness in the face of circumstances and desperate attempts to explain to yourself-why this happened. The author leads the hero to the Hut, and there… there is a meeting with God. It is from this moment that you will begin to completely destroy your ideas about religion, about the soul and about God. �
    �and “
    Bardo Thedol (Tibetan Book of the Dead with a psychological commentary by C. G. Jung)

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