Fortress Press

The Ethics of Death: Religious and Philosophical Perspectives in Dialogue

The Ethics of Death

Religious and Philosophical Perspectives in Dialogue

Lloyd Steffen (Author), Dennis R. Cooley (Author)


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For the living, death has a moral dimension. When we confront death and dying in our own lives and in the lives of others, we ask questions about the good, right, and fitting as they relate to our experiences of human mortality. When others die, the living are left with moral questions—questions that often generate personal inquiry as to whether a particular death was “good” or whether it was tragic, terrifying, or peaceful.
In The Ethics of Death, the authors, one a philosopher and one a religious studies scholar, undertake an examination of the deaths that we experience as members of a larger moral community. Their respectful and engaging dialogue highlights the complex and challenging issues that surround many deaths in our modern world and helps readers frame thoughtful responses.
Unafraid of difficult topics, Steffen and Cooley fully engage suicide, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, capital punishment, abortion, and war as areas of life where death poses moral challenges.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800699192
  • eBook ISBN 9781451487572
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 256
  • Publication Date July 1, 2014


1. Ethical Perspectives
2. Abortion
3. Death Penalty
4. War
5. Suicide
6. End of Life I: Physician Assisted Suicide
7. End of Life II:  Futility and Euthanasia
8. The Value of Life  


"This scholarly treatment of the complex and ambiguous ethical dilemmas at the end of life is original, thoughtful, and finely balanced. Steffen and Cooley recognize that ethical decisions must come from dialogue, not dogma, and from a nuanced appreciation of human experience. With these aims in mind they have written a book that literally models that very approach. Compulsory and compulsive reading for anyone with an interest in the end of life—and shouldn’t that be all of us?"
—Allan Kellehear
Middlesex University

“The authors in this volume give a patient, inter-disciplinary, and insightful portrait of the landscapes where death poses a moral challenge. The authors here offer bold and skillful treatment of the more complex and challenging ethical aspects of dying and death in contemporary society.”
Nate Hinerman
University of San Francisco


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