Philosophy of Death and Dying Exam 2 Study Questions MATERIAL USED:...

Philosophy of Death and Dying

Exam 2 Study Questions

MATERIAL USED: the plague, fear and trembling, Ivan illych

How does Tarrou differ from the narrator's description of most of the residents of Oran? Why is this important?

Explain why Tarrou's strategies for "not wasting time" work or don't work. Explain how these factors (of "working" or "not working") apply or don't apply to the asthmatic invalid.

What motivates each of the principal characters of The Plague? What (if anything) is problematic about these motivations in the context of the plague? What (if anything) is problematic about these motivations when it comes to considering one's own mortality?

Explain the different "phases" of the plague and how they relate to Heidegger's ideas about how we relate to our own death.

Compare and contrast Tarrou with the Knight of Faith from Fear and Trembling. (Hint: Think about the narrator says about Tarrou's relationship with pleasure.)

Explain what the author means by a "pestilence". What other pestilences are there besides the plague? What is humanism (in the context of The Plague)? How do pestilences defeat humanism, according to the narrator?

What does The Plague say about how we should live our lives and/or relate to our own deaths?

Why does Cottard become happier during the plague? (Hint: it might not be only because he thinks he won't be caught/prosecuted because of the plague.)

Why is it significant that Tarrou and Rieux see the opera Orpheus, in particular?

Compare and contrast the attitudes of Camus and Heidegger towards life and death. (Hint: Camus and Heidegger both seem to be concerned about getting lost or caught up in the They-Self, but while Heidegger stresses that we all die alone yet Camus doesn't think that that we must all live—or necessarily die—alone.)

Explain the spiritual crisis of Father Paneloux.

How are Rieux, Rambert, and Grand similar to one another?

How does Paneloux want people to respond to the problem of evil? Do you think Camus agrees with Paneloux, and if not, what is his view? (Consider the quote on page to the effect that suffering is the bread of spiritual hunger.)

Contrast Gerasim and Ivan's attitudes toward death? How does their social position and/or the way that they live their lives affect their attitude towards death?

Describe Ivan's main problem throughout his life. (Hint: Think about the 7 Deadly sins.) How does Ivan's problem relate to his attitude toward death?

Explain why Tolstoy might have chosen to kill Ivan in the way that he does. How is this significant for the meaning of the novella?


Explain the following terms and how each relates to Ivan Ilych's understanding of his life (and death):






Idle Talk


Explain the difference between the following sets of terms:

Ontic - ontological

Existential - Existentiell

Why does Heidegger refer to the being he's talking about as Dasein (instead of "you", "me", "the self", "the soul", or "a human being")?

Explain the difference between anticipation and expectation.

Answer & Explanation

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