<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Feldman (Fred) - A Materialist Conception 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_4009.htm">A Materialist Conception 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 7</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=600><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_04/PaperSummary_4009.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_04/PapersToNotes_4009.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_P4009_1">Abstract</A></U><SUB>1</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P4009_1"></A></u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>Chapter 7, "A Materialist Conception of Death," contains my proposed conceptual scheme for death and related concepts. </li><li>I try to explain the central concepts ("death," "dying," "a death," "dead," "person," etc.) and I defend some answers to fundamental metaphysical questions involving these concepts. Can a person survive death? Can a person die more than once? Can a person get out of life without dying? Can something die if it never lived? </li><li>This chapter provides a summary of a proposed materialistic conceptual scheme for death. </li></ol> </FONT><BR><u><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Link_P4009_2">Analysis</A></U><SUB>2</SUB><a name="On-Page_Return_P4009_2"></A></u><FONT COLOR = "800080"><BR><BR><u>A New Approach to Death</u> [106] <ol type="1"><li>Instead of trying to define it (tried that in chapter 4  failed), this approach involves formulating general principles that locate the connection between death and concepts like dying and life:</li><li>Thus, although I will not be attempting to explain what death is, I will be attempting to explain where the biological concept of death is located in a certain materialist conceptual scheme. [107] </li></ol><BR><u>The Lifeline</u> [107] <ol type="1"><li>See diagram on p. 108: Adam goes from conception at t0 to death at t6 and finally cremation at t7. </li><li>Twice Adam is dying2: at t2 and t4. But he recovers at t3. </li></ol><BR><u>Death Itself, "a Death," and Being Dead</u> [108] <ol type="1"><li><b>D1</b>. x is dead at t = df. x died at some time earlier than t</li><li>But what about the possibility of revitalization? To rule out that: <ul type="disc"><li><b>D1'</b>. x is dead at t = df. x died at some time earlier than t and x has not been alive since then </li></ul></li><li>Two senses of death  the <b>success</b> sense (death1): <ul type="disc"><li><b>D2</b>. e is the death1 of x = df. e is the event such that, necessarily, e occurs precisely when x dies</li></ul>and the <b>process</b> sense (death2): <ul type="disc"><li><b>D3</b>. e is the death2of x = df. e is the event such that, necessarily, e occurs precisely when x is dying2 </li></ul></li><li>Thus we can say: <ul type="disc"><li>Adam s death1 took place at t6, but his death2 lasted from t4 to t6. </li></ul></li><li>Puzzle about the moment of Adam s death (t6): at that time he is neither dead nor alive. If he was dead then, then he would have been dead when he died, and if he was alive, he would ve been alive when he died, and neither makes sense. </li></ol><BR><u>Death and Life</u> [110] <ol type="1"><li>From D12 we get the following: <ul type="disc"><li>Necessarily, nothing is both alive and dead at the same time.</li></ul></li><li>Adam goes through stages when he s alive (t0-t6) and dead (t6-t7). Thus: <ul type="disc"><li>Possibly, something is alive at one time, and dead at another time. </li></ul></li><li>The possibility of "deathless exits from life" (like Alvin the Amoeba s) give us: <ul type="disc"><li>Possibly, something is alive at a time even though it does not die at any later time. </li></ul></li><li>Jerry Lewis thinks the following: <ul type="disc"><li>[Possibly, something is alive at a time even though it died at an earlier time. ] </li></ul></li><li>This allows <a name="1"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_9/Notes_978.htm">life after death</A><SUP>3</SUP>. Is this possible? Even if not, the following is true because of suspended <a name="2"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1012.htm">animation</A><SUP>4</SUP>: <ul type="disc"><li>Possibly, something is alive at a time even though it ceased to be alive at some earlier time. </li></ul></li></ol><BR><u>Death and Existence</u> [113] <ol type="1"><li>Obviously you can t be alive and not exist, so: <ul type="disc"><li>Necessarily, if a thing is alive at a time, then it exists at that time. </li></ul></li><li>Obviously also, there are many dead things that don t exist (except to the extent that their component atoms are still around), for example, the dinosaurs. So: <ul type="disc"><li>Possibly, a thing is dead at a time even though it does not exist at that time. </li></ul></li><li>However, also, despite what Epicurus says, chapter 6 (the dead horse, especially) shows that you can be dead and exist: <ul type="disc"><li>Possibly, a thing is dead at a time even though it does exist at that time. </li></ul></li></ol><BR><u>Deaths, Lives, and Histories</u> [115] <ol type="1"><li>What is "the life" of somebody?</li><li><b>Suggestion 1</b>: the length of time they re alive<BR><b>PROBLEM</b>: If two identical <a name="3"></a><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1173.htm">twins</A><SUP>5</SUP> are killed at the same moment, then, by this definition, they have identical lives, because they were alive for exactly the same time.</li><li><b>Suggestion 2</b>: the property of being alive<BR><b>PROBLEM</b>: this is even worse! It implies that everybody alive has the same life.</li><li><b>Solution</b>: <ul type="disc"><li>x s life is the complex event containing all the events that happen to x in the period x is alive.<BR><b>Thus</b>: Adam s life: t0-t6</li><li>x s history is the complex event containing all the events that happen to x in the period x exists.<BR><b>Thus</b>: Adam s history: t0-t7 </li></ul></li></ol><BR><u>Death and Humanity</u> [117] <ol type="1"><li>Can one s history as a human continue after one s death? Yes, if humanity is simply membership in the species homo sapiens.</li><li>Humanity is neither NECESSARY (non-human living things) nor SUFFICIENT (human corpses) for life.</li><li>Possibly, a thing is a human and dead at a time. </li></ol><BR><u>Death and Personality</u> [118] <ul type="disc"><li>Can one s history as a person continue after one s death? Depends on the kind of person one means:</li><li>Four kinds of person: <ol type="1"><li>BIOLOGICAL</li><li>PSYCHOLOGICAL</li><li>LEGAL</li><li>MORAL </li></ol></li><li>Necessarily, no biological person s history as a biological person extends beyond his or her death.</li><li>Necessarily, if something is a psychological person to any nonzero degree at a time, then it is alive at that time.</li><li>Possibly, something is a high-degree psychological person at one time, and dead at another time.</li><li>Necessarily, no psychological person s history as a psychological person extends beyond his or her death.</li><li>Possibly one can be both a moral and a legal person as a corpse: corpses have rights (rights to have their wills respected, for example). </li></ul><BR><u>A Materialist Way of Death</u> [123] <ol type="1">So far as we know, every biological person eventually dies. Since, in the materialist view, these biological persons are their bodies, and in most cases the bodies continue to exist after they die and continue to be members of the human species, it would be correct to say that death does not necessarily mark the end of the history of an object as a biological person& [but] death& does seem to mark the end of the history of an entity as a psychological person. [124] </ol> </FONT><BR><HR><BR><U><B>In-Page Footnotes</U></B><a name="On-Page_Link_P4009_1"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P4009_1"><B>Footnote 1</B></A></U>: Taken from <a name="4"></a>"<A HREF = "../../Abstracts/Abstract_04/Abstract_4002.htm">Feldman (Fred) - Introduction: Confronting the Reaper</A>". <a name="On-Page_Link_P4009_2"></A><BR><BR><U><A HREF="#On-Page_Return_P4009_2"><B>Footnote 2</B></A></U>: Taken from <a name="5"></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 06:15:32</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>