Sheldon Solomon joins us to discuss why death denial is so pervasive, the Hobbesian imperative in global politics, Heidegger and much, much more.
Professor Sheldon Solomon is the Ross Professor for Interdisciplinary Studies at Skidmore College, New York. Best known for developing terror management theory (TMT), along with Jess Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski, Sheldon and colleagues have revolutionised our understanding of how humans deal with their own sense of mortality and the often destructive effects of ‘death denial’ on individual and collective behaviour. An engaging speaker and raconteur, in more recent years Sheldon has turned his attention to how death anxiety might be related to the anthropocene and the insatiable appetite of humans for more, whether that be cheap energy or lethal consumption.
In this conversation we discuss why death denial is so pervasive, evidence underpinning TMT, death and the Hobbesian imperative in global politics, hope without optimism, Epicurus, Heidegger and much, much more.
Solomon's institutional profile at Skidmore College can be found here.
- ‘Death Denial in the Anthropocene’ In the book: K. Zywert & Stephen Quilley (eds.), Health in the Anthropocene: Living Well on a Finite Planet (University of Toronto Press, 2020).
- The Worm at the Core: On The Role of Death in Life (with Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski) (Penguin/Random House, 2015).
- Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (Free Press/Macmillan, 1973).
- Flight from Death, 2003 documentary.