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PHIL: Philosophy & Religion: PHIL 111: Death & Dying

This Research Guide will help you find books, e-books, articles, and videos about topics related to Philosophy and Religion.

Books and E-books on Dying, Death and Grief

A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America

The practice of mercy killing extends back to Ancient Greece and beyond. In America, the debate has raged for well over a century. This book tells the dramatic story of the men and women who struggled throughout the 20th century to change the nation's attitude -- and its laws -- regarding mercy killing.

Electronic book

Right to Die: A Reference Handbook

This book provides a complete examination of right-to-die issues in the United States that dissects the complex arguments for and against a person's liberty to receive a physician's assistance to hasten death. It covers the legal aspects and the politics of the right-to-die controversy, analyzes the battles over the right to die in state and federal courts, and supplies primary source documents that illustrate the political, medical, legal, religious, and ethical landscape of the right to die.

Call number: R 726 .B255 2017 -- Stacks, Bethlehem & Monroe

When My Time Comes: Conversations About Whether Those Who Are Dying Should Have the Right to Determine When Life Should End

Through interviews with terminally ill patients, and with physicians, ethicists, spouses, relatives, and representatives of those who vigorously oppose the movement, author Diane Rehm gives voice to a broad range of people who are personally linked to the realities of medical aid in dying. The book presents the fervent arguments -- both for and against -- that are propelling the current debates across the nation about whether to adopt laws allowing those who are dying to put an end to their suffering. With characteristic even-handedness, Rehm skillfully shows both sides of the argument, providing the full context for this highly divisive issue.

Call number: R 726 .R448 2020 -- Browsing, Bethlehem & Monroe

Understanding Death: An Introduction to Ideas of Self and the Afterlife in World Religions

This book offers a comprehensive survey of how religions understand death, dying, and the afterlife, drawing on examples from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Shamanic perspectives. It considers shared and differing views of death across the world's major religions, including the nature of death itself; the reasons for it; the identity of those who die; religious rituals; and how the living should respond to death. The book places emphasis on the varying concepts of the 'self' or soul, and uses a thematic structure to facilitate a broader comparative understanding.

Call number: BL 504 .S86 2014 -- Stacks, Bethlehem & Monroe

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician and author Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. In this book, she vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world's funerary history; introduces death care innovators researching body composting and green burial; and examines how traditions from other cultures help us see our own death customs in a new light. Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular -- and, upon close inspection, peculiar -- set of 'respectful' rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn.

Call number: RA 622 .D68 2017 -- Stacks, Bethlehem

Online Videos About Dying, Death and Grief

A variety of documentaries may be viewed online through the Films on Demand database. You may watch the programs listed here by clicking on each title, or you may search the database to find videos on your choice of topics. This list contains just a sample of the many subjects covered by Films on Demand!

Beyond Death -- The Story of God (series)

Death: The Ultimate Enigma

End of Life: Patients Facing Death

Heaven: Where Is It? How Do We Get There?

On Our Own Terms: Bill Moyers on Dying in America (series)

One Brief Life: The Baby L Case

What words should I search for?

When you're searching in Library databases, try these keywords to find books about death and other topics related to dying. Typing quotation marks around a phrase will keep those words together when you search.


Topic 1: Who makes decisions about how we die?

  • "assisted suicide"
  • "death with dignity"
  • euthanasia
  • "right to die"


Topic 2: The medical approach to death

  • “do not resuscitate order”
  • “end-of-life care”
  • "hospice care"
  • "life support"
  • "organ donation"
  • "palliative treatment"
  • "terminal care"
  • "terminally ill"


Topic 3: What happens to dead bodies?

  • burial
  • corpses
  • cremation
  • “dead--care and disposal”
  • "death care"
  • deceased
  • embalming
  • “human remains”
  • mummies


Topic 4: How does our society deal with death?

  • bereavement
  • cemeteries
  • “funeral homes”
  • "funeral rites and ceremonies"
  • grief
  • loss
  • "mourning customs"
  • thanatology
  • "undertakers and undertaking"


Topic 5: The afterlife

  • afterlife
  • “death--religious aspects”
  • “future life”
  • heaven
  • hell
  • “near-death experiences”
  • purgatory
  • soul