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Can there be a good death?

Scarre, Geoffrey

Can there be a good death? Thumbnail


Geoffrey Scarre


While some deaths are worse than others, there is no such thing as a ‘good death’ since the plausible desiderata of a ‘good death’ form an inconsistent set. Because death is of the greatest existential consequence to us, a ‘good’ death must be a self-aware death in which we grasp the import of what is happening to us; however, such realization is incompatible with our achieving the tranquillity of mind which is another requirement for the ‘good’ death. Nevertheless, the welcome recognition in recent years by medical personnel, palliative care workers and hospice staff that dying is an existential predicament as well as a physiological condition has enabled more people to avoid a ‘soulless death in intensive care’, even if it pays insufficient regard to the personal virtues that we need if we are to mitigate the worst evils of dying.


Scarre, G. (2012). Can there be a good death?. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 18(5), 1082-1086.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2012
Deposit Date Jun 3, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jul 24, 2014
Journal Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Print ISSN 1356-1294
Electronic ISSN 1365-2753
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 5
Pages 1082-1086
Keywords Dying, Good death, Hospice care, Narrative, Tranquillity, Virtues.


Accepted Journal Article (204 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Scarre, G. (2012), Can there be a good death?. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 18 (5): 1082-1086, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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