Notes on the philosophy of death

-Death is not an event in ones life. If we consider life as a sort of theater of events, or as a world we move in and which flows in through the eyes, death is obviously not an event that enters into this theater but the vanishing of the theater itself.

Corollary.  Though there is a sense in which we can speak of death being far off (e.g. we are young and healthy) to speak in this way is false, and not because of the possibility of mishaps or accidents, but because it treats death merely as an event that happens to us.

-My death can be an event to you, but it cannot be one to me. This is true irrespective of what one thinks happens after death.

-Not enough attention is paid to the puzzling sense of “after” in the question of what is after death.

-The scholastic tradition waffled on whether reason could figure out whether there was life after death. Scotus and Cajetan (together at last!) thought we could only give probable arguments; and while St. Thomas never wavered from thinking that we could know with certitude that the soul survived, over time his argument appears to become more and more absorbed with the difficulties in the position. But it seems inarguable that if we want to decide whether death brings us some good, we need some input other than science and philosophy.  In the face of death, reason can only say, at best, that there is something on the other side, but that it could be anything. This is not necessarily more comforting than being told there is nothing at all. The question of death is supposed to push us beyond what we can attain by science and philosophy. This is one gloss on Gaudium et Spes “the mystery of death utterly beggars the imagination”



1 Comment

  1. Fred said,

    February 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Hi, I am from Australia.
    Please find 3 related references which provide an Illuminated Understanding of death, and therefore of life.

    Plus 3 related related on the nature of Reality

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