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Mortal Beings: On the Metaphysics and Value of Death
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This book is a contribution to the debate of the metaphysics and value of death.

The metaphysical problems of death are closely connected with the debate of personal identity. In Chapter Two, I defend the view that human persons are human organisms. This view, often called "Animalism," is apparently incompatible with a standard account of personal identity over time, "the Psychological View." I try to show how the Animalist can accommodate the intuitions that seem to support the Psychological View.

In Chapter Three, I discuss the thesis that human persons cease to exist when they die, a thesis that has bearing on several metaphysical and ethical questions. Recently, many materialists have attacked the thesis, arguing that human persons continue to exist after death as corpses. In opposition to this popular view, I argue that human animals, and hence human persons, do go out of existence at death.

Epicureans deny that death is an evil for the one who dies. Their arguments are based on what will be called "the missing subject problem." In Chapter Four, I aim to show that Epicureanism survives the objections that have been put forward in current literature. But I also argue that a more convincing case can be made against the Epicurean view.

Anti-Epicureans typically base the view that death is sometimes bad for the deceased on the "deprivation approach." This approach seems to have the unsavory consequence that prenatal non-existence, too, is a great evil. Recently, proponents of the deprivation approach have suggested a number of ways of avoiding this implication. In Chapter Five, I argue that all these attempts fail, and that it is preferable to accept the consequence.

In Chapter Six I turn to the question of the reasonableness of the special concern that most people have for their own deaths. I claim that this issue should be treated in the light of the more general question of the justifiability of special concern about one's own future. It is often held that such concern is justified if and only if "Non-Reductionism" about personal identity is correct. I argue, on the contrary, that it is unjustified whether or not Non-Reductionism is true.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis , 2005. , 180 p.
Stockholm studies in philosophy, ISSN 0491-0877 ; 27
Keyword [en]
animalism, death, deprivation approach, Epicureanism, personal identity, special concern, symmetry argument
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-633ISBN: 91-85445-07-XOAI: diva2:196355
Public defence
2005-09-24, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2005-09-02 Created: 2005-09-02 Last updated: 2012-10-19Bibliographically approved

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