About the class: This Yale College course, taught on campus twice a week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2007. Since then, the Open Yale Course video series has achieved international popularity and been viewed millions of times around the world.
About the book: In 2012, Kagan turned the lecture series into a book, titled “Death,” which provides the same material in a different format. It has since been translated into Korean and Chinese.
Description: There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact? This class examines a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality. We consider the possibility that death may not actually be the end. Are we, in some sense, immortal? Would immortality be desirable? We also look for a clearer notion of what it is to die. What does it mean to say that a person has died? What kind of fact is that? Finally, we evaluate different attitudes towards death. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is suicide morally permissible? Is it rational? How should the knowledge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life?
“A lucid guide to a range of philosophical claims” – Wall Street Journal book review
Hailed as the second most popular online course in China – Yale News article
Watch the first course video below:
Other ways to access:
Official lecture series/additional course materials: Open Yale Courses
Short video clips: YouTube
The Future of Death When We Can Live Decades Longer (Wall Street Journal)
Is Death Bad for You? (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Live from Brooklyn: Shelly Kagan’s “Death” (Yale Alumni Magazine)