In this paper I discuss the significance of Simmel’s conception of death as presented in his capstone work Lebensanschauung (1918). I argue for Simmel death is the form of all cultural forms and that it has a transcendental, form-giving function for life in its concrete unfolding. I conclude with a brief examination of the thought of immortality and some suggestions about how Simmel’s conception of death has a bearing on current issues such as the increment of life-expectancy in developed countries.
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Andrea Staiti is Rita Levi Montalcini Professor of Philosophy at the University of Parma (Italy) and Visiting Scholar at Boston College (USA). He formerly held a position as Associate Professor at Boston College and he has been a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the University of Cologne (Germany). He has published extensively on phenomenology and 19th and 20th century German philosophy. His most recent monograph is Husserl’s Transcendental Phenomenology: Nature, Spirit, and Life (Cambridge University Press 2014).
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