Philosophy Of Life And Death Pdf

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I would like … Philosophy of life definition, any philosophical view or vision of the nature or purpose of life or of the way that life should be lived. The death of Socrates, for example, gave to philosophy one of its most decisive orientations by posing the dramatic question of human immortality: Is there an afterlife or not? Philosophy could be a formula to life, or an informed way of life.

Philosophy of Life, Death, and Dying

First , what constitutes death? Second , in what sense might death or posthumous events harm us? To answer this question, we will need to know what it is for something to be in our interests. Third , what is the case for and the case against the harm thesis , the claim that death can harm the individual who dies, and the posthumous harm thesis , according to which events that occur after an individual dies can still harm that individual?

Fourth , how might we solve the timing puzzle? This puzzle is the problem of locating the time during which we incur harm for which death and posthumous events are responsible. A fifth controversy concerns whether all deaths are misfortunes or only some. Of particular interest here is a dispute between Thomas Nagel, who says that death is always an evil, since continued life always makes good things accessible, and Bernard Williams, who argues that, while premature death is a misfortune, it is a good thing that we are not immortal, since we cannot continue to be who we are now and remain meaningfully attached to life forever.

A final controversy concerns whether or not the harmfulness of death can be reduced. It may be that, by adjusting our conception of our well-being, and by altering our attitudes, we can reduce or eliminate the threat death poses us. But there is a case to be made that such efforts backfire if taken to extremes. To clarify death further, we will need to say a bit about the nature of life, and ask whether life can be suspended or restored, and how it relates to our continued existence.

We can also distinguish between the concept of death and criteria by which death can be detected. It is not easy to clarify the nature of life. Suppose we could construct a machine, the HAL 1. It seems that being conscious does not entail being alive. Still, to the extent that we are puzzled about the nature of life, we will be puzzled about what is entailed by the ending of life, that is, death. Things that are alive have a distinctive capacity to develop or maintain themselves by engaging in various processes including chemosynthesis, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, cell generation, and maintenance of homeostasis.

Let us call these vital processes. It is one thing to have the capacity to deploy these processes and another to actually deploy them, just as there is a difference between having the ability to run and actually running. For accounts of life, see Van Inwagen and Bedau We can call this the loss of life account of death.

The event by which the capacity to employ vital processes is lost is one thing and the condition of having lost it is another. On one hand it might be a process wherein our lives are progressively extinguished, until finally they are gone. On the other it might be a momentary event. This event might be understood in three ways. First, it might be the ending of the dying process—the loss of the very last trace of life.

Second, it might be the point in the dying process when extinction is assured, at least given the resources available to prevent it. A third possibility is that life ends when the physiological systems of the body have lost the capacity to function as an integrated whole, or when this loss becomes irreversible Belshaw ; DeGrazia Thus death can be a state being dead , the process of extinction dying , or one of three events that occur during the dying process.

Death in all of these senses can be further distinguished from events—such as being shot with an arrow—that cause death. The loss of life account of death has been challenged by theorists who claim that things placed in suspended animation are not alive Feldman , Christopher Belsaw , Cody Gilmore , and David DeGrazia When zygotes and embryos are frozen for later use in the in vitro fertilization procedure, their vital processes are brought to a stop, or very nearly so. The same goes for water bears that are dehydrated, and for seeds and spores.

It seems clear that the zygotes and water bears are not dead, since their vital processes can easily be restarted—by warming the zygote or by wetting the water bear. They are not dead, but are they alive? If we deny that they are alive, presumably we would do so on the grounds that their vital processes are halted. However, the loss of life account is thoroughly established in ordinary usage, and is easily reconciled with the possibility of suspended animation.

In denying that frozen embryos are dead, it is clear that we mean to emphasize that they have not lost the capacity to deploy their vital processes. When we say that something is dead, we mean to emphasize that this capacity has been lost.

Our best option is to use a pair of contrasting terms. What seems relatively uncontroversial is that being dead consists in unviability.

To retain the loss of life account, we have only to add that being alive consists in viability. We can then say that a frozen embryo is viable and hence alive despite its lack of vitality, and it will die if its life ends it will die if it ceases to be viable. We would then say that a frozen embryo is not alive since it lacks vitality but also that it is not dead since it remains viable.

It will be useful to sharpen the loss of life account if, as seems conceivable, it is possible to restore life to something that has died. Restoration in this sense is quite different from the revival of something, such as a frozen embryo, whose vital processes have been halted.

Something can be revived only if it is alive—only if it has the capacity to deploy vital processes, as in the case of a frozen zygote. It is revived when it regains vitality. Life is restored when this capacity is regained. To bring the possibility of restoration into view, imagine a futuristic device, the Disassembler-Reassembler , that reduces me to small cubes, or individual cells, or disconnected atoms, which it stores and later reassembles just as they were before.

Many of us will say that I would survive—my life would continue—after Reassembly, but it is quite clear that I would not live during intervals when my atoms are stacked in storage.

I would not even exist during such intervals. If I can be Reassembled, my life would be restored, not revived. Restoration, not revival, is a way of bringing a creature back from the dead. Now imagine a device that repairs corpses: it moves molecules back to where they were prior to the death of the creature that left the corpse, and restarts its vital processes.

Like the Disassembler-Reassembler , the corpse reanimator would resurrect the dead—it would restore the lives of people who have died. Given the possibilities of restoration and revivification, it seems best to refine the loss of life account, as follows:. A thing dies at the time it loses this capacity.

It is dead at all times afterwards, except while that capacity is regained. Death for you and me is constituted by the loss of our capacity to sustain ourselves using vital processes.

This characterization of death could be sharpened if we had a clearer idea of what we are , and the conditions under which we persist. However, the latter is a matter of controversy. There are three main views: animalism , which says that we are human beings Snowdon , Olson , ; personism , which says that we are creatures with the capacity for self-awareness; and mindism , which says that we are minds which may or may not have the capacity for self-awareness McMahan Animalism suggests that we persist over time just in case we remain the same animal; mindism suggests that we persist just when we remain the same mind.

Personism is usually paired with the view that our persistence is determined by our psychological features and the relations among them Locke , Parfit If we are animals, with the persistence conditions of animals, our deaths are constituted by the cessation of the vital processes that sustain our existence as human beings. If we are minds, our deaths are constituted by the extinction of the vital processes that sustain our existence as minds.

And if persistence is determined by our retaining certain psychological features, then the loss of those features will constitute death. These three ways of understanding death have very different implications.

Severe dementia can destroy a great many psychological features without destroying the mind, which suggests that death as understood by personists can occur even though death as understood by mindists has not. Moreover, human beings sometimes survive the destruction of the mind, as when the cerebrum dies but the brainstem does not, leaving an individual in a persistent vegetative state.

It is also conceivable that the mind can survive the extinction of the human being: this might occur if the brain is removed from the body, kept alive artificially, and the remainder of the body is destroyed assuming that a bare brain is not a human being. These possibilities suggest that death as understood by mindists can occur even though death as understood by animalists has not and also that the latter sort of death need not be accompanied by the former.

What is the relationship between existence and death? May people and other creatures continue to exist after dying, or cease to exist without dying? Take the first question: may you and I and other creatures continue to exist for some time after our lives end? Fred Feldman , p. The position that we can indeed survive death we might call the dead survivors view. The dead survivors view has been defended by various theorists, most notably Feldman , , The idea might be that an animal continues to count as the same animal if enough of its original components remain in much the same order, and animals continue to meet this condition for a time following death Mackie On this view, if you and I are animals as animalists say then we could survive for a time after we are dead, albeit as corpses.

In fact, we could survive indefinitely, by arranging to have our corpses preserved. However, this way of defending the dead survivors view may not be decisive. What about the second question: can creatures cease to exist without dying? Certainly things that never were alive, such as bubbles and statues, can be deathlessly annihilated. Arguably, there are also ways that living creatures can be deathlessly annihilated Rosenberg , Feldman , Gilmore Yet when amoebas split, and chlamydomonas fuse, the vital processes that sustain them do not cease.

If people could divide like amoebas, perhaps they, too could cease to exist without dying. For a famous discussion of division, fusion, and their implications, see Parfit However, proponents of that account can hold their ground. They can say that division, fusion, and other apparent examples of deathless exits are unusual ways of dying, because nonexistence is not brought about via the destruction of vital processes, but they are not ways of escaping death altogether.

Proponents of the loss of life account might also turn the tables on its critics, and argue as follows: nothing can be alive unless it exists, so if something ceases to exist it ceases to be alive, but to cease to be alive is to die.

So there are no deathless exits after all. Defining death is one thing; providing criteria by which it can be readily detected or verified is another. A criterion for death, by contrast, lays out conditions by which all and only actual deaths may be readily identified. Such a criterion falls short of a definition, but plays a practical role.

For example, it would help physicians and jurists determine when death has occurred. A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.

Death and the Value of Life

As a pagan martyr, she has always been a stick to beat Christians with, a symbol in the continuing struggle between science and revealed religion. As a woman, she can be seen as a feminist as well as a pagan martyr. Her name has been a feminist symbol down the centuries, more recently a potent name in lesbian and gay circles. As an Egyptian, she has also been claimed as a black woman martyr 2. There is an asteroid named after her, a crater on the moon, and a journal of feminist studies. As early as the women of Wichita Kansas, familiar from the movies of our youth as a lawless western cattle-town, formed a literary society called the Hypatia Club 3.


PDF | The Philosophy of Life and Death: Ludwig Klages and the Rise of a Nazi Biopolitics. By Nitzan Lebovic. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


The Life, Work and Death of Hypatia

Indeed, this book is the most synoptic and elaborate study of Klages presently available. More importantly, Lebovic shows how much of our contemporary thinking takes place within a conceptual framework informed by s Germany, even making a case for the view that Lebensphilosophie still retains a 'revolutionary potential. Lebovic is a true political thinker, who uses the whole array of analytical possibilities, in order to expose the violent potential of his 'hero. Lebovic's work, whose importance for the English readership cannot be overestimated, - for there is no comparable work in this field - clarifies the destructive impact of this thinking, but beyond it, its appeal to a wide variety of audiences.

About The Meaning of Life and Death

Nature , Philosophers , Philosophy , Symbolism. Life and death, like all opposites, are simply two sides of the same coin. At other times it is unmanifest, invisible. A tangible image of this in Nature is the tree. During summer it is full of leaves, flowers and fruits; in winter, it is bare of all those attributes and appears to be dead; but we know from experience that it will come to life again in spring. So with the human being: we are born, we grow and appear to die.

This conference will explore the relation between our mortality and the knowledge thereof and our experience of meaningfulness and meaninglessness , with particular focus on the question whether death undercuts meaning in life, as some life extensionists proclaim, or whether, on the contrary, meaning depends on our mortality. Yet changes of the human condition can only ever be seen as enhancements with respect to certain purposes that have to be assumed as worth pursuing. However, there is no agreement about which purposes are ultimately worth pursuing. The main difference between those that are generally in favour of human enhancement and those who adopt a more sceptical stance is that they have different views about what matters in life. Thus the whole human enhancement debate is, in its core, a debate about meaningfulness, and the questions that are being asked about the desirability and permissibility of certain forms of suggested enhancement cannot really be answered before the more general question about what gives meaning to our life has been answered in a satisfactory way.

The Meaning of Life and Death

First , what constitutes death?

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