Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
We will discuss various questions concerning secular hopes in the face of death, that is, hopes other than the hope for eternal life. What is it to hope that one has lived a worthwhile life? Is there some contemporary analogue to Aristotle claim that death on the battlefield is the most desirable death? “After me the downfall” said Louis XV—what interest should we take in the world in which we are no more? In her poem “Song” Christina Rossetti asks her beloved not sing sad songs when she dies. What kind of attitudes do we hope others will have toward us after we are dead?
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