What Makes A Good Death?
Friday 1 February 19.00-21.00, Saturday 2 February 10.30-17.30
“The art of living well and the art of dying
well are one.” Epicurus
The idea of the good death has a rich
provenance. Since the demise of Socrates from hemlock poisoning it
has been deemed possible to die ‘well’ – with dignity, control and
a sense of having remained true to oneself. Since then,
philosophers have grappled with this enduring mythology, and
representations of the good death resonate in art and literature.
Today, end-of-life issues are fiercely debated in the context of
medicine and palliative care, as we consider how we wish to end our
This special two-day symposium will bring
together leading experts to explore the idea of the good death
through the lenses of history, philosophy and medicine. How has the
concept of a ‘good death’ changed over time, what does it mean
today, and how does it relate to modern medicine? How can we better
prepare for death, and make sense of it? Who is the ‘good death’
good for – the dying person, or those left behind?
A full day of talks and discussion
will be preceded by a Friday evening of literary readings exploring
death through the eyes of poets and writers, curated by writer and
critic Steven Connor. Enjoy a drinks reception, meet your fellow
symposium guests, and view the critically acclaimed 'Death: A
Self-portrait' exhibition away from the crowds.
Christopher Belshaw, senior
lecturer in philosophy, Open University, on what philosophy can
teach us about facing death.
Desmond Biddulph, President
of the Buddhist Society, on Buddhism and death.
Sophie Bostock, Assistant
Curator, Prints and Drawings, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts,
University of Birmingham, on the tradition of ars moriendi –
instruction manuals on how to die well – in art history.
Kate Forde, curator of
‘Death: A self-portrait’, giving an insight into the
Sheila Payne, Chair in
Hospice Studies, Lancaster University, on what a good death means
in the context of medicine, palliative care and the hospice
Linda Woodhead, Professor of
Sociology of Religion, Lancaster University, on death and
remembrance rituals in contemporary British society.
£30 full price/£25 concessions for both days,
including drinks on Friday evening and lunch, tea and coffee on
Saturday. To book, please call +44 (0)20 7611