The significance of death for the living

Heidegger''s conception of death as an attitude toward life, overlooked in current literature on death and dying, offers potential for deepening our understanding of the care of non-critically ill patients. By breaking away from the notion of death as an event distinct from life and viewing it as an anticipated possibility at every moment of life, Heidegger provides insight into our attempts to evade death through our fundamental attitudes and value commitments, which in turn determine our behavior and actions. When combined with a method of application — the Nietzschean principle of reversal — these insights permit the understanding of diverse types of human mentality confronted with significant situations. Among the most important applications of these conceptions is to persons in need of medical care, and the resultant types, which are sampled as hypothetical cases, carry important implications for the sensitive care and psychosocial management of non-terminally ill patients.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00883520
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