A New Refutation Of Death
Johnston (Mark)
Source: Johnston (Mark) - Surviving Death, 2010
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsBooks / Papers Citing this PaperNotes Citing this PaperColour-ConventionsDisclaimer


  1. Chapter Five focuses upon giving content to the idea of living on after one is dead through the lives of others, or "in the onward rush of humanity" in Johnston's language. Johnston starts by recapitulating the main ideas he has argued for up to this point. Importantly, Johnston does this repeatedly throughout the book and at times uses very different language to try to capture arguments made previously. The summaries provided are often very helpful, but some readers may find the recapitulations that draw upon different concepts a bit confusing. Johnston certainly attempts to be as helpful to the reader as possible. In attempting to explicate his views, Johnston takes us through discussions of contemporary thinkers, e.g. Derek Parfit2's view of the self; classical thought, e.g. Ovid; and historical thinkers, e.g. Kant, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer. The concluding chapter features a tour including all of these thinkers as well as a touch of Vedantism and the clear debt to Christianity in the notion of agape which was grounded by previous discussions of the New Testament included in the book.
  2. How, precisely, does Johnston think one can survive death? One way to understand it is in the following:
      When it comes to facing death, the characteristic disposition of the good is very helpful. A good person, however well-endowed by nature and nurture, does not see himself as a Sun King, one whose death would remove everything of paramount importance. Nor does a good person feel that his own individual personality is of special importance because it is his. The good value individual personality as such, and they see it continued in their younger contemporaries and in the lives of all those who follow them. In this way the good, and to some extent the good enough, are less threatened by death. Where death looms less over a life, there is more chance that that life will be a genuinely flourishing life. (pg. 356)
  3. A good individual is able to value an individual's life in the abstract, and not only her own life, and thus a good person is able to value the future existences of individuals that are not her own. For Johnston, it is not particular individuals who survive death in the traditional sense of a soul existing in some realm, either this one or another one, but it is that the goodness that an individual participates in continues on and is participated in by future good persons.

  1. A Comparison With Parfit3
  2. Parfit4's New Criterion
  3. So Death5 Is Something To Us
  4. On Being Higher-Order
  5. The Clone6
  6. The Phoenix
  7. How Could a Mere Bird Survive as the Phoenix Does?
  8. Teleporters7 Often "Misfire"
  9. Policing the Dispositions
  10. The Point of the Allegory
  11. What Is a Good Will?
  12. Is Goodness Bounded?
  13. The Dispositions of the Good
  14. How Does "I" Work, if We Are Protean?
  15. Self-Ownership and the Interests Of The Good
  16. Are We Good Enough?
  17. Who Has A Good Will?
  18. A Comparison with Schopenhauer
  19. The Mistake in Tristan Und Isolde
  20. Two Problems with Kantian Vedantism
  21. This World, Not the Other World
  22. Perpetual Return
  23. The Interests of the Good
  24. Reconsidering the Threat of Death
  25. Questions and Replies

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: From "Caldwell (Christopher M.) - Review - 'Surviving Death' by Mark Johnston".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - July 2019. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page