Socrates, Lucretius, Camus - Two Philosophical Traditions on Death

Author: Wilson, Fred
This monograph links reasons for attitudes toward death to reasons for different metaphysical positions on the human being and the place of the human being in the universe. Most recent discussions of death either place the topic directly in the context of nothing more than ethical considerations without reference to the deeper ontological or metaphysical issues, or place it in the context of Heideggerian or existentialist considerations. This essays goes deeper than the former and provides a broader context than the latter. The discussion is structured by the thought of Camus, providing a careful reading of both The Myth of Sisyphus and The Outsider. Examines his connection to both the empiricist tradition and Hume, Plotinus, Lucretius, Socrates, Aristotle, the Stoics, and into the modern period with Spinoza. Their metaphysical positions on death are fully laid out.


“. . . deep and carefully-argued study. . . . an authoritative modern presentation of a classic position about how our awareness of death should be confronted and integrated into human living. . . . A great merit of Wilson’s work is his understanding of the motives and arguments of the rationalist tradition he rejects as well as the Epicurean tradition he recommends to us. . . . This book demonstrates that philosophy can confront the most disturbing human questions with clarity and rigour. It also shows that one mind can combine philosophical skill and scholarship with literary sensitivity and insight.” – Terence Penelhum

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface by T. Penelhum
Prefatory remarks by Peter Loptsom and W. Sweet
1. Introduction
2. Where Death Is, I Am Not: Lucretius
3. Overcoming Death: Socrates and His Successors
4. The Epicurean Reply: Hume
5. The Pursuit of Value in a Meaningless world: Camus
6. Conclusions
Bibliography; Index