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242 × 162 × 28 mm
280 pages
13 May 2019

Earthly Immortalities How the Dead Live On in the Lives of Others Peter Moore

In this thought-provoking and book, Peter Moore examines the often overlooked issues concerning human mortality – the fragile ways in which the dead can be said to ‘live on’ in earthly terms: through their children, their work, the memories of others, their possessions and even their bodies. Such earthly immortalities raise a host of fascinating questions about our attitudes to life, and to the world we leave behind us when we die.

To what extent does the meaning we find in our lives depend upon the assumption there will always be a new generation to continue the human adventure? What would it be like if science were able to extend life indefinitely, and is this something already enshrined in the doctrine of reincarnation? Can we solve our anxieties about mortality by learning that life is worth living precisely because we do not live for ever? In a generous and eloquent account, these and more are the questions Earthly Immortalities seeks to answer.

‘[Moore is] an intensely arresting thinker, and for this alone, Earthly Immortalities is necessary reading.’ — The Australian

‘In this seeming sequel to his Where Are the Dead?: Exploring the Idea of an Embodied Afterlife, Moore seeks to uncover the idea of earthly immortalities, that is, attempts to maintain one's earthly identity within the memories of loved ones, the lives of one's children, and works of art and artisanship. Moore seeks answers to this question in a wide variety of cultures, in great philosophical thinkers of Western civilization, in poetry, and even in modern-day cinema. His insights are not mere sentiment; he attempts to get at the root of human desire for immortality and the unity that all people, in a certain sense, have with each other and with nature. This masterfully written book has much to offer. Recommended.’ — Choice

‘This is a welcome addition to the interdisciplinary scholarship of death and dying. I am particularly impressed by the author’s emphasis on earthly afterlife as the foundation of wider historical memory and the role of historical experience in shaping the contours of our lives. The author makes no claim that an earthly afterlife can be an equivalent substitute for personal consciousness beyond the grave, but in each chapter he explores the multiple intersections between the two forms of continuity. A large (and welcome) theme undergirding each topical chapter is the ongoing dynamic between humans and their earthly environment, the desire to remain relevant in this world even in the face of personal extinction.’ — William Spellman, Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Asheville

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Peter Moore taught religious studies at the University of Kent for many years. His most recent book is Earthly Immortalities: How the Dead Live On in the Lives of Others (Reaktion, 2019).


1 Minding Mortality
2 Staying On
3 Posthumous Personhood
4 Anonymous Immortality
5 Doing without an Afterlife?
6 Death and the End of the World
7 What of the World without Us?
8 This World is Not Enough

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