Philosophy of death

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Shelly Kagan's goal:

There is no soul

Immortality $1sn't a good thing

Fear of death isn't an appropriate response

Suicide can be justified

Think for yourself

No appeal to religious authority

Lecture 2: The nature of persons: Dualism vs Physicalism

Can I survive my death?

Question 1: What's a person made of, who is the I?

Question 2: what's surviving?

what's the key/nature of the personal identity?

What does it mean to die?

        Is there life after the end of life? Obviously no.

        What happens in the movie after it ends?

Might I survive my death

        What does survive mean? They haven't died

2 Basic views: Dualism: Body and soul (which is immaterial and separate from body)

Monist: A person is a fancy body

3 kinds of bad

  1. Intrinsic Bad: Pain

  2. S/th that leads to badness, Insurmentally bad: Unemployment

  3. Comparatively bad: Picking an envelope and getting $10 instead of $1000

        Deprivation of life, death

Lecture 16

Nobody believes they’re going to die

Argument you have to take seriously:

When people have brushes with death, they change their priorities, spend less time in the “rat race” and do what’s important to them.

Most of us don’t do this so that suggests evidence that deep down, very few of us believe we’re going to die.

Everyone dies alone

Only I can die “my” death. This isn’t special about death. Only I can get my hair cut, my kidney stones removed, my lunch. Just a trivial grammatical point.

Metaphor: dying is like being alone

We can be sociable while we’re doing (David Hume)

How and in what ways is death bad?

It robs us from everyone else.

Central: But how's death for the person that dies?

Lecture 17

Value Theory

  1. Deprivation Account (Opportunity cost)

Non-existence isn’t intrinsically bad, we don’t have access to the goods of life

Puzzle: When's death bad for you?

Apple shoots and injures Banana on Monday. Apple gets a heart attack and dies. Banana dies on Wednesday. When did Apple kill Banana?

Lecture 19

The alternative to dying is immortality. Which sort of sucks. Our bodies degrade (Gulliver’s travels).

Is it possible in principle for an eternal lifetime. I can’t think of anything (without lobotomizing, being like rats)

The best form of life would be to live as long as you wanted. (Julian Barnes, Chapter; the dream). It can still be a bad thing that we die too soon (deprecation account) Death isn’t necessarily a bad fact since it escapes us from immortality.

what's it for a life to go well? Not morally good, but “I’m getting something good out of this life)

Rebuttal to hedonism: “experience machine” that can give all the joyful sensations and experiences. But there’s something missing.

Last update: 2023-04-24