The book Approaches to Death and Dying: Bioethical and Cultural Perspectives, edited by Marta Szabat and Jan Piasecki, is part of a still too narrow catalogue of works devoted to end-of-life themes. The volume consists of eleven articles arranged in four parts corresponding to a broad range of issues: law, ethics, philosophy, and cultural studies. The arrangement of the book is thus constructed around various perspectives upon which any reflection on death and dying must be based. This is perhaps indicative of how difficult it is to adopt an unambiguous attitude towards death–modernity, which introduces a multitude of possible choices and decisions regarding our own bodies, has enhanced individualism but at the same time done away with the order provided by old customs, cultural arrangements, strategies towards the inevitable and the power exerted by that order.
Addressing the issue of death and dying in the suggested contexts conjures up a number of meanings and problems that require reflection and even solutions. I am delighted to say that I have no hesitation in recommending the publication of Approaches to Death and Dying: Bioethical and Cultural Perspectives, an impeccably edited volume of considerable intellectual substance. The book demonstrates the importance of collective works integrating the research of various scientific communities, provided, however, that the selection of both the topic and the writers is not governed by chance, but rather by a carefully thought-out and faultlessly explored idea of more general resonance. And this is the case here, for which congratulations and respect are deserved. I am convinced that this opinion will be shared by the readers of this publication.
The review prepared by Professor Agnieszka Kaczmarek (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland)
Dr Marta Szabat studied philosophy and literature at the University of Wrocław in Poland, philosophy at the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3 in France and Medical Law and Bioethics at the Jagiellonian University (Postgraduate Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Law). She obtained her doctorate in 2008 for her research on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. She was a visiting fellow at the University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne in France (2012, séjour de recherche, French Government Fellowship). In 2015 she participated in SKILLS-Coaching, a program financed by the Foundation for Polish Science. Since 2008 she has been working at the Department of Philosophy and Bioethics at Jagiellonian University, Medical College. In her work, she focuses mainly on the philosophy of death and dying, thanatology, palliative care, French philosophy and bioethics.
Dr Jan Piasecki is an Assistant professor in the Department of Philosphy and Bioethics, Institute of Public Health at at the Jagiellonian University. He holds a doctorate degree in philosophy (Jagiellonian University, 2010) and Erasmus Mundus Master of Bioethics (2010-2011). He studied philosophy also at the Tilburg University in the Netherlands (Socrates/Erasmus 2005) and at International Academy of Philosophy in Santiago de Chile (2006). In May 2016 he was a visiting scholar of Erasmus Mundus Master of Bioethics at the University of Padova. He is a principal investigator in the project: Ethical Principles for Learning Health Care System funded by National Science Centre (Sonata 10, UMO-2015/19/D/HS1/00991).