We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Can there be a good death?

Scarre, Geoffrey (2012) 'Can there be a good death?', Journal of evaluation in clinical practice., 18 (5). pp. 1082-1086.


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.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Dying, Good death, Hospice care, Narrative, Tranquillity, Virtues.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher 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.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:24 July 2014
Date of first online publication:October 2012
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar