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 "Curious Omissions In a Book on Death",
a review by Carroll Quigley in The Washington Sunday Star, December 27, 1964,
of a book:
by Jacques Choron.
The Macmillan Co.: New York, 1964


"Curious Omissions In a Book on Death"


By Jacques Choron.
The Macmillan Co. 276 pages. $6.95.



   Jacques Choron, who teaches philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York, has been studying philosophers' views on death for a long time. Last year he published an account of these entitled "Death and Western Thought" and has now followed up with the present volume which gives his own evaluation of this evidence. As may be imagined, his conclusions on death, immortality, and the meaning of life are subjective and inconclusive, especially as there is nothing scientific in this attitude and he generally ignores any scientific work on the subject. He has concerned himself almost exclusively with the lucubrations of subjective philosophers and psychoanalysts, with a peppering of references to poets and novelists. Freud is quoted more than any other writer.

   Choron's standard for evaluating ideas on death is much more concerned with logic than with scientific observation. The work of the psychical researchers is ignored; there are constant references to obscure German philosophers, while the outstanding writer on the subject in the English language (Frederic W. H. Myers, whose "Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death," published in two volumes in 1903) is not mentioned and is apparently unknown. The evidence of research scientists, such as that of Dr. Duncan MacDougall at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1906 (showing that the body at the moment of death lost three-quarters of an ounce in weight in six measured cases) or the studies of W. J. Kilner, Hereward Carrington, and others on the aura, methods of observing it, and its disappearance at the moment of death, are not mentioned.




Scan of original review



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