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Death and existence: Some philosophical problems.

Inman, D.; (2004) Death and existence: Some philosophical problems. Masters thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

My thesis is an investigation into a number of philosophical problems that arise when considering the relation between death and existence. I begin by asking whether it is true that when something dies it ceases to exist, or whether it is the case that some things survive their death when they die. In the case of organisms, I argue that not only is it the case that our pre-theoretical thought holds that some organisms can survive their death, but that all arguments that try to suggest otherwise are either flawed, or little more than bare assertions. The next line of argument that I consider is one that says that people are not organisms, and they die in an essentially non-biological way. Thus, people are subject to a personal conception of death, which is characterised as being when something ceases be a psychological entity. On this conception, it is argued, a person ceases to exist when they die. In response to this, I argue that people are not things distinct from their organism, but are in fact, numerically identical to their organism. I support this conclusion in the form of both synchronic and identity statements. Once it has been shown that the person is numerically identical with their organism, then a personal conception of death that is strong enough to support the idea that people cease to exist when they die is left unsupported. The final problem I consider starts by looking at sentences which, in the present tense, say of a no longer existing person that they are dead. Such a sentence would be 'Socrates is dead'. Why are such sentences meaningful considering the thing that they are about no longer exists Why are such sentences true if there is nothing to satisfy the 'is dead' predicate I deny that this problem is removed by metaphysical solutions that posit entities to act as referents and truth-makers. Instead, I adopt the strategy of explaining the sentence's truth and meaning, by developing a naturalistic account of name practices.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Death and existence: Some philosophical problems.
Identifier: PQ ETD:602597
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1446672
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