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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Philosophy of Death and Dying (PHIL10192)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course investigates fundamental philosophical questions raised by human mortality, with special attention to the metaphysical nature of death, death¿s significance for human well-being, and ethical quandaries related to mortality.
Course description Mortality is one of the few universals of human life and thus raises philosophical questions important to all reflective individuals. This course surveys central topics in the philosophy of death and dying, including the possibility of surviving death, the desirability of immortality, the purported badness of death, the rationality of fear (and other attitudes) toward death, moral duties toward the dead, the nature and ethical significance of grief, and the ethics of suicide. The course also investigates concerns about death that arise in medical practice (for example, medically assisted dying and disputes regarding the criteria for declaring death).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Morality and Value (PHIL08015) AND Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017) OR Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have passed Morality and Value (PHIL08015) and at least one of Mind, Matter, and Language (PHIL08014) or Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017)

Students studying on MA Cognitive Science (Humanities) are permitted to take this course without having met the pre-requisites of Mind, Matter and Language and Knowledge and Reality. However, it is advisable that students discuss the suitability of the course with their PT and the course organiser before enrolling.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) First midterm essay (35%) 1,500 words
Second midterm essay (35%) 1,500 words
Final revised essay (25%) 2,500 words
Reflective course experience essay (5%) 1,000 words
Feedback Guidance will be given in advance of each assignment. This may be in the form of an in-class discussion, a handout, or discussion of a component of the assessed work. Instructor feedback on essay outline and peer feedback provides further formative opportunities ahead of final essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Outline influential positions and arguments concerning metaphysical and ethical issues raised by death and dying.
  2. Critically assess these positions and arguments, drawing their own reasoned conclusions about their defensibility.
  3. Relate disputes in the philosophy of death and dying to larger questions within various subdisciplines of philosophy (ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, etc.)
  4. Better articulate their own views regarding the significance of death and dying for their own lives and for humanity in general.
  5. Participate more meaningfully in larger societal conversations concerning controversies related to death and dying.
Reading List
Representative Readings

Cave, Immortality
Cholbi, Grief: A Philosophical Guide
Cholbi, Suicide: The Philosophical Dimensions
Cholbi and Timmerman (eds.), Philosophy of Death and Dying: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives
Fischer, Death, Immortality, and Meaning in Life
Gawande, Being Mortal
Kagan, Death
May, Death: The Art of Living
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Mindsets: Enquiry and lifelong learning; Aspiration and personal development
Skill groups: Personal and intellectual autonomy; Personal effectiveness
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Michael Cholbi
Course secretary
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