Simon Critchley’s top 10 philosophers’ deaths

From The Guardian:

Book “It is the ambition of The Book of Dead Philosophers to show that often the philosopher’s greatest work of art is the manner of their death,” says Critchley.

1. Heracleitus (540-480 BC)
Heracleitus became such a hater of humanity that he wandered in the mountains and lived on a diet of grass and herbs. But malnutrition gave him dropsy and he returned to the city to seek a cure, asking to be covered in cow dung, which he believed would draw the bad humours out of his body. In the first version of the story, the cow dung is wet and the weeping philosopher drowns; in the second, it is dry and he is baked to death in the Ionian sun.

Note: And here is my personal favorite.

9. AJ Ayer (1910-1989)
The year before he died, after recovering from pneumonia in University College Hospital in London, Ayer choked on a piece of salmon, lost consciousness and technically died. His heart stopped for four minutes until he was revived. A day later, he had recovered and was talking happily about what had taken place during his death. He saw a bright red light which was apparently in charge of the government of the universe. The ministers for space were oddly absent, but Ayer could see the ministers in charge of time in the distance. Ayer then reports that he suddenly recalled Einstein’s view that space and time were one and the same and tried to attract the attention of the ministers of time by walking up and down and waving his watch and chain. To no avail, however, and Ayer grew more and more desperate and then regained consciousness. Ayer was shaken by the experience and in an article for the Sunday Telegraph, he suggested that it did provide “rather strong evidence that death does not put an end to consciousness”.

More here.