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