Article

Death

Steven Luper

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online November 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0028
Death

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This article concerns contemporary philosophical discussions of death. The philosophy of death attempts to determine what it is for people and other living things to die, how and the extent to which death and posthumous events benefit or harm those who die, and the morality of killing. The issues that arise might loosely be classified as metaphysical, prudential, and moral. The metaphysical issues concern what death is, and, by extension, what it is to be alive, what you and I are, and what the persistence conditions of living creatures are. (The former issues are covered under the Nature of Death, while the latter are covered under Life and Persistence over Time.) The prudential issues concern how and the extent to which death, posthumous events, and coming to be affect the welfare of those who die (covered under Mortal Harm and Posthumous Harm), and the time when those effects are incurred (covered under the Timing Issue). Finally, the moral issues concern how the prudential significance of death and posthumous events bear on the moral permissibility of killing. When killing is wrong, it is wrong primarily (even if not exclusively) because death harms its victims or because death is imposed on its victims without their consent, which is inconsistent with the respect they are due. Philosophers of death attempt to work out whether and how the harmfulness of dying and consent to being killed bear on the wrongness of killing. (These moral issues are covered under Killing.)

Article.  7396 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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