<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Feldman (Fred) - The Enigma of Death (Theo Todman's Book Collection - Paper Abstracts) </title> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /></head> <BODY> <CENTER> <div id="header"><HR><h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Paper Abstracts</h1><HR></div><A name="Top"></A> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_04/PaperSummary_4006.htm">The Enigma of Death</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/F/Author_Feldman (Fred).htm">Feldman (Fred)</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: Feldman - Confrontations with the Reaper, Chapter 4</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=800><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_04/PaperSummary_4006.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_04/PaperCitings_4006.htm">Books / Papers Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_04/PapersToNotes_4006.htm">Notes Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF="#ColourConventions">Text Colour-Conventions</a></td></tr></TABLE></CENTER></P> <hr><P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><u>Author s <U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P4006_1">Abstract</A></U><SUB>1</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P4006_1"></A></u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Suppose we understand life well enough. Can we then use the concept of life in our definition of death? Would it be correct to say that death is just the cessation of life? </li><li>In Chapter 4, "The Enigma of Death," I explain why death cannot be defined in this way. </li><li>One problem concerns suspended <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1012.htm">animation</A><SUP>2</SUP>. Things that go into suspended <a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1012.htm">animation</A><SUP>3</SUP> cease to live, but don't die. So death is not the cessation of life. </li><li>Furthermore, there seem to be certain other ways of getting out of life without dying. </li><li>I claim, in light of all this, that even if we understood the nature of life, it is not clear how we could use it in the effort to define the nature of death. </li><li>Death is thus a double enigma. </li></ol> </FONT><BR><u>Philosopher s Index Abstract</u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1">According to "the Standard Analysis" death may be defined as the cessation of life. In spite of the popularity of this analysis, it confronts a number of difficulties. Organisms that go into suspended <a name="3"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1012.htm">animation</A><SUP>4</SUP> cease (temporarily) to live, yet they sometimes do not die. Organisms that reproduce by fission cease to exist when they divide; hence, they also cease to live when they divide. It is counterintuitive to say that they then die. In this paper, I discuss several proposed analyses of the concept of death, and attempt to show that each fails. I conclude that death remains enigmatic. </ol> </FONT><BR><u><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P4006_5">Analysis</A></U><SUB>5</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P4006_5"></A></u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><BR><BR><u>The Gift of Life</u> [56] <ol type="1"><li>We need to use "life" in our definition of death, but because the analysis of life in chapters 2 and 3 was inconclusive, we ll have just to treat it as an "unanalyzed primitive" (see discussion of "animates" above  another example is "yellow"). </li></ol><BR><u>The Biological Concept of Death</u> [56] <ol type="1"><li>Recap of points in chapter 1: According to the biological concept, "dying" is the same for JFK, dodos and trees. That is, it cannot be defined in terms unique to humans (like brain waves) because trees die and they don t have brains.</li><li>Also: criterion of death vs. analysis (see p. 17): <ul type="disc"><li>Sample criterion of death:<BR><b>CoD</b>: x dies at t iff x s brain ceases to emit z-waves</li><li>Sample analysis of death:<BR><b>D1</b>: x dies at t =df. x ceases to be alive at t </li></ul></li><li>A single counterexample shows that the analysis is incorrect (shows "the failure of analyticity", like the Martian did for the vitalist analysis of life in chapter 3). </li></ol><BR><u>Perrett s Analysis</u> [58] <ol type="1"><li>Roy Perrett in <a name="10"></a>"<A HREF = "../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_01/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_1366.htm">Perrett (Roy W.) - Death and Immortality</A>" seems to claim: <ul type="disc"><li><b>D2</b>: x dies at t =df. x is a living biological organism up to t, but at t, x is destroyed </li></ul></li><li><b>Objection</b>: TOO NARROW. Butterfly carefully captured is still dead. </li></ol><BR><u>The Standard Analysis</u> [60] <ol type="1"><li>According to the standard view (which Perrett elsewhere seems to advocate), death is simply identified with the cessation of life. In other words, D1 as stated above (and below).</li><li> [Feldman will argue that the standard analysis is wrong, specifically because death is only one of several ways in which life can end  that is, life ending is necessary but not sufficient for death. Also, he will assume that death only happens once  that is, that if you "die" and come back then you didn t really die (see Jerry Lewis below). Why is this important? Because not only is death an important concept in our everyday lives (and feared  but why should it be if it s not terminal?) but also in the law. It would seem unfair if you caused someone to "die" and then they came back, but you were still charged with manslaughter, for example.] </li></ol><BR><u>Puzzles About Suspended <a name="4"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1012.htm">Animation</A><SUP>6</SUP></u> [60] <ol type="1"><li>Suspended <a name="5"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1012.htm">animation</A><SUP>7</SUP> already works for living cells: microorganisms can be flooded with glycerol and frozen indefinitely. Imagine that this can be done for adult humans:</li><li><b>CASE 1</b>: Max has bad, currently incurable, disease such that he will die in a few days. Instead, he is frozen, and ten years later, when a cure is found for the disease, he is defrosted and cured. </li><li><b>D1</b>: x dies at t =df. x ceases to be alive at t<BR><b>Objection</b>: TOO BROAD because of case 1. Max ceases to be alive at the moment he is frozen but does not die. Why not? Because he is later revived. This suggests:</li><li><b>D2</b>: x dies at t =df. x ceases permanently to be alive at t <BR>This fixes the problem for Max, but there s a new problem:</li><li><b>CASE 2</b>: Identical <a name="6"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twins</A><SUP>8</SUP> (Tom and Tim) are in the same boat as Max in case 1, and they too are frozen. Unfortunately, after a year with no problems, Tom s body is damaged while frozen such that he can never be revived. Tom s body is thawed and buried. Tim, however, is cured ten years later just like Max in case 1. So:</li><li><b>Objection to D2</b>: GETS THE TIME WRONG. According to D2, Tom dies at the moment he is frozen. But this is weird because from that time for a whole year he is in exactly the same state as Tim. How is it that two identical <a name="7"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twins</A><SUP>9</SUP> can be in an identical condition, but one is dead and the other is not? Surely it makes more sense to say that Tom dies when his body is irreversibly damaged rather than at the time he is frozen. </li><li><b>D3</b>: x dies at t =df. x ceases permanently and irreversibly to be alive at t<BR><b>Objection</b>: TOO NARROW. According to this definition, Tom never dies, because there is no moment at which he both permanently and irreversibly ceases to be alive. That is, he ceases permanently to be alive when he is frozen, but irreversibly a year later. But this seems like a minor quibble  we can fix it like this:</li><li><b>D4</b>: x dies at t =df. <ul type="disc"><li>(i) x ceases permanently to be alive at or before t, and </li><li>(ii) at t, it becomes physically impossible for x ever to live again </li></ul>Thus death occurs at the time loss of life becomes irreversible, even if (as with Tom) the loss of life occurs a year earlier. But it works fine for normal cases.</li><li> [Possible <b>objection</b>: Jerry Lewis claims to have died several times. That is, for him death is not irreversible. But maybe he would accept the claim that his life ceased several times, even if he did not die (just as Tim s and Max s life ceased when they were frozen without them dying).]</li><li>Real <b>Objection to D4</b>: TOO BROAD. Seems to include cases where the reason a person cannot be revived is external to the person. Suppose Max is frozen as in case 1, but before he can be revived, a massive nuclear war wipes out all civilization on earth. He s safe in his canister, but at the time of the war, it becomes the case that his loss of life is irreversible simply because there s nobody around to revive him. This seems to be a case where he doesn t die. Why not? Because the reason his death is irreversible is not internal to him. So:</li><li><b>D5</b>: x dies at t =df. <ul type="disc"><li>(i) x ceases permanently to be alive at or before t, and </li><li>(ii) at t, internal changes occur in x that make it physically impossible for x ever to live again </li></ul>(Minor) <b>Objection</b>: the notions of "internal" and "physical impossibility" are at present vague. </li></ol><BR><u>Problems Concerning Fission and Fusion</u> [66] <ol type="1"><li>Real <b>Objection to D5</b>: TOO BROAD. Alvin the Amoeba produces Amos and Ambrose. Does Alvin die? No  he passes from life "deathlessly". So:</li><li><b>D6</b>: x dies at t =df. <ul type="disc"><li>(i) x ceases permanently to be alive at or before t, and </li><li>(ii) at t, internal changes occur in x that make it physically impossible for x ever to live again, and </li><li>(iii) it s not the case that x turns into another living thing or a bunch of other living things at t. </li></ul><b>Objection to D6</b>: TOO BROAD: fusing chlamydomonas</li><li><b>D7</b>: x dies at t =df. <ul type="disc"><li>(i) x ceases permanently to be alive at or before t, and </li><li>(ii) at t, internal changes occur in x that make it physically impossible for x ever to live again, and </li><li>(iii) it s not the case that x turns into another living thing or a bunch of other living things at t, and </li><li>(iv) it s not the case that x is a member of a set of living things whose members fuse and turn into a living thing at t. </li></ul><b>Objection</b>: TOO NARROW. Mouse in the cell separator: it produces a bunch of living things (its cells) but is clearly dead. Also: the victim of the Mad Organ Harvester.</li><li>Perhaps the difference between Amoebas and the mouse and the organ victim is that in the latter two cases it is only living bits of them that survive, not new entities (as in the case of Amos and Ambrose). So:</li><li><b>D8</b>: x dies at t =df. <ul type="disc"><li>(i) x ceases permanently to be alive at or before t, and </li><li>(ii) at t, internal changes occur in x that make it physically impossible for x ever to live again, and </li><li>(iii) it s not the case that x turns into another living thing or a bunch of other living things at t, and</li><li>(iv) it s not the case that x is a member of a set of living organisms whose members fuse and turn into a living thing at t. </li></ul><b>Objection</b>: TOO BROAD. A frog cell is divided into two "daughter cells" which do not turn into organisms. It fits criterion (iv) of D8, and so appears to die. But isn t the frog cell actually in Alvin s situation of passing from life "deathlessly"? </li></ol><BR><u>The Mystery of Death</u> [71] <ol type="1"><li>My main point is that when we say that some biological entity has died, we do not invariably mean that it has ceased to live. I am inclined to suspect that we never mean just this. If there is some single thing that we do mean, then it is hard to say precisely what it is. </li></ol> </FONT><BR><HR><BR><U><B>In-Page Footnotes</U></B><a name="On-Page_Link_P4006_1"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P4006_1"><B>Footnote 1</B></A></U>: Taken from <a name="8"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_04/Abstract_4002.htm">Feldman (Fred) - Introduction: Confronting the Reaper</A>". <a name="On-Page_Link_P4006_5"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P4006_5"><B>Footnote 5</B></A></U>: Taken from <a name="9"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_12/Abstract_12081.htm">Cushing (Simon) - Fred Feldman: Confrontations with the Reaper</A>". <BR><BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR></P><a name="ColourConventions"></a><p><b>Text Colour Conventions (see <A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1025.htm">disclaimer</a>)</b></p><OL TYPE="1"><LI><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><LI><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); &copy; the author(s)</li></OL> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD> <TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD> <TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-02T06:15" pubdate>02/08/2018 06:15:27</time> <br><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A></TD></TR> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD> </TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR> </BODY> </HTML>