Descartes, R. (1641) Meditations on First Philosophy, in N.
Kemp Smith (ed. and trans.) Descartes: Philosophical Writings, New York: Random House, 1958.
(Descartes’ presentation of his dualistic conception of persons.)
Donnelly, J. (1994) Language, Metaphysics, and Death, 2nd edn, New York: Fordham University Press.
(Useful and well-organized collection of essays on the nature and meaning of death, the nature of the soul, and immortality. Includes papers by Nagel, Williams, Rosenbaum, Edwards, Feldman and others.)
Edwards, P. (1967) ‘Life, Meaning and Value of’, in P.
Edwards (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, New York and London: Macmillan Publishing Company & The Free Press.
(Clear exposition of main views on meaning of life. Explains and criticizes Schopenhauer’s arguments for pessimism.)
Edwards, P. (1992) Immortality, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
Epicurus (c.300) ‘Letter to Menoecceus’, trans.
Bailey in W. J.
Oates (ed.) The Stoic and Epicurean Philosophers, New York: The Modern Library, 1940, 30–34.
(Classic statement of the view that since we will not exist once we are dead, death cannot harm us. Claims that the fear of death is wholly irrational.)
Feldman, F. (1992) Confrontations with the Reaper: A Philosophical Study of the Nature and Value of Death, New York: Oxford University Press.
(Defends a materialist conceptual scheme for death and associated concepts; argues for a version of the deprivation approach to the evil of death; presents a modified utilitarian theory about the wrongness of killing.)
Fischer, J.M. (1993) The Metaphysics of Death, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
(Clear and well-organized introduction by Fischer, followed by sixteen papers on death. Includes papers by Nagel, Williams, Parfit, McMahan, Feldman and others. Excellent bibliography.)
Kamm, F.M. (1993) Morality, Mortality, Volume 1: Death and Whom to Save From It, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(Extensive discussion of the evil of death, focusing on the question why non-existence after death seems so much worse than non-existence before birth. Also discusses moral questions concerning the allocation of transplantable bodily organs.)
Nagel, T. (1973) ‘Death’ in Mortal Questions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1–10.
(Discusses whether it is a bad thing to die. See §5 above.)
Plato (c.330) Phaedo, trans.
Jowett in The Dialogues of Plato, New York: Random House, 1937.
(Introduction by R. Demos. Represents a dialogue about death, the nature of the person, and the role of the philosopher. Socrates is the leading character in the discussion, which takes place in his cell in jail, on the day of his death.)
President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1981) Defining Death: Medical, Legal and Ethical Issues in the Determination of Death, Washington, DC: President’s Commission.
(Report of U.S. Presidential Commission directed to investigate ethical and legal implications of proposed and enacted legal criteria of death. Contains a review of actual statutes as well as thoughtful discussion of a proposed new uniform statute.)
Williams, B. (1973) Problems of the Self, New York: Cambridge University Press.
(Contains ‘The Makropoulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality’, and other essays by Williams.)