The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 407–411 | Cite as

Christopher Belshaw, Annihilation, The Sense and Significance of Death

Montreal & Kingston, Ithaca: McGill-Queens University Press, 2009, xii + 258 pp., ISBN: 978-0-7735-3553-4, $27.95 (Pb)
  • Niall ConnollyEmail author
Book Review

If death really amounts to annihilation for us, and not just a passage to another life, then questions arise whose urgency for each of us will grow as the end looms and the Reaper sharpens his sickle.

Christopher Belshaw tackles these questions in Annihilation: The Sense and Significance of Death: questions like whether death is bad; whether apart from the harm of death itself, the dead are beyond harm, or benefit, or are still vulnerable; and whether we can hope to cheat death with the aid of as yet un-invented technologies.

It is a very good book. It is clearly written. The structure of the discussion and the distinctions made aid the navigation of the subject matter. Where Belshaw engages with other writers, his criticisms are sharp and largely persuasive. His own views are well argued for. Many of the conclusions he reaches are hard to disagree with. It is apparent to the reader that Belshaw is thinking carefully and deeply not just about the subject matter but about how to do...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity College DublinDublin 2 Ireland

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