Chapter

Memento Mori

Robert Rowland Smith

in Death-Drive

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640393
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671601 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640393.003.0002
Memento Mori

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This chapter goes back to philosophical basics and asks: What is death, and how do we begin to think about it? What is its status as an object of thought? It compares and contrasts two distinctive and canonic approaches to the question, that of Pascal and that of Heidegger. For Pascal, classically, death is an actual event that we suffer. But Heidegger argues that thinking about death like this only gets you so far: better to conceive death as a perpetual possibility than an actuality. It enlarges upon Heidegger's answer to suggest that the status of death is more imaginary than real. This is done in order to argue death into the space of rhetoric or the artistic, where much of the argument of the following chapters takes place; it also seeks to show that death cannot be just another object of thought.

Keywords: death; Pascal; Heidegger; pepetual possibility; status of death

Chapter.  8933 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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