We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact:

Publication details for Professor Geoffrey Scarre

Scarre, Geoffrey (2012). Can there be a good death? Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18(5): 1082-1086.

Author(s) from Durham


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.