Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

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The Palliation of Dying: A Heideggerian Analysis of the “Technologization” of Death

Franco A Carnevale


The modern West has vigorously sought to overcome death, or at the very least minimize the suffering that it entails. Whereas the former has been predominantly pursued through modern scientific medicine, the minimization of the adversity of death and dying has been sought through ‘death technologies’. This technologization of death is analyzed in light of Martin Heidegger’s phenomenological philosophy. The
analysis begins with an outline of the fundamental tenets of Heidegger’s ‘philosophy of Being’. In turn, his philosophical framework is utilized to highlight the manner in which the technologization of dying serves to conceal the central existential questions about being and finitude that dying gives rise to. The paper concludes with a discussion of how Heidegger’s work can inspire a more authentic stance toward dying. Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych is referred to in order to illustrate Heidegger’s construal of this existential struggle toward dying.

Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, Volume 5, Edition 1 April 2005
AJOL African Journals Online