Department of Philosophy

Thinking about the Beginning and End of a Life

LifeFriday 13 March, 2-6pm

Arts A108

When it comes to the beginning and end of a life, we are out of control. This loss of control makes us fearful. But what is it that we are actually afraid of? Perhaps it is not what we think it is; perhaps it is not death as such but rather the interval leading up to it. It might also be the loss of control in front of others, those closest to us as well as health professionals, in the case of death as well as for birth. 

The beginning of life confronts us with the need to make decisions on behalf of somebody we don't know and who will remain in an interval of alieness even after being born. Birth itself is an uncanny event; our fears are exacerbated by the fact that as a process, birth is unimaginable. 

What could be learned from understanding such fears better? How can reflection help to cope? How can we even think about birth and death?

 

Susanne Brauer (Zurich): 'In Control': Making the Unborn Child Genetically Transparent

  

Tanja Staehler (Sussex): Who's Afraid of Birth?


 

Havi Carel (Bristol): Reflective Coping with Death and Illness


Paul Davies (Sussex): The Interval at the End of a Life