Cover: Imagining the End: Mourning and Ethical Life, from Harvard University PressCover: Imagining the End in HARDCOVER

Imagining the End

Mourning and Ethical Life

Product Details


$29.95 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674272590

Publication Date: 11/15/2022

Academic Trade

176 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

5 tables

Belknap Press


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Lear is a lovely and subtle writer, someone who has a rare capacity to introduce ways of seeing and interrogating the world that dignify our confusion and pain while also opening up new possibilities for moving forward… There are no answers in Imagining the End, or in most of Lear’s work. There are no recipes for maturity. Or plans for a stable peace in Ukraine. What his work does give us is an example of how to engage in the world with extraordinary care.—Daniel Oppenheimer, Washington Post [11/09/22]

In a world buffeted by multiple catastrophes, from gun violence to the destructive effects of climate change, psychoanalyst and philosopher Lear offers a hopeful path through grief and confusion.Washington Post [11/17/22]

Offers provocative reflections on flourishing in the face of existential and civilizational challenges.Publishers Weekly

Imagining the End suggests, in a sober yet hopeful spirit, how mourning, rightly understood, can give meaning to our lives in the disenchanted times in which we find ourselves. In exploring the hopes that have failed us, the projects that have run into the sand, the loves we have lost, the attachments that have come to an end—a work of what amounts to creative mourning—we can develop a stance in the here and how from which the psyche can look outward and flourish. As he did earlier in his explorations of what it can mean to hope, Jonathan Lear here expands and deepens our understanding of what it can mean to mourn.—J. M. Coetzee, Nobel Laureate

A deeply insightful and thought-enriching work by one of the most original philosophers writing today. Imagining the End is acutely aware of the danger we stand in of finding ourselves on an uninhabitable planet. But Lear is also aware of how the consciousness of impending loss can bring out the illumination inherent in meaningful life, often occluded in day-to-day living.—Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age

A greatly original treatment of central issues of human life—issues which have taken on new importance as we have become sharply aware of the vulnerability of life on this planet. Lear’s writing reshapes our understanding of where philosophy can take us.—Cora Diamond, author of Reading Wittgenstein with Anscombe, Going On to Ethics

Mourning, as Jonathan Lear shows, has always been a way of remembering that can add something new to the world. Imagining the End takes a hard look at the contemporary grounds of despair—for a person, a group, or a species—but it conveys hope by the accuracy of its imaginings. Lear’s treatment here of a great subject of moral psychology is characteristically subtle and inventive.—David Bromwich, author of American Breakdown

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