Surviving death: how to refute termination theses

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (2):178-197 (2018)
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Abstract

When deciding how ‘death’ should be defined, it is helpful to consider cases in which vital functions are restored to an organism long after those vital functions have ceased. Here I consider whether such restoration cases can be used to refute termination theses. Focusing largely on the termination thesis applied to human animals, I develop a line of argument from the possibility of human restoration to the conclusion that in many actual cases, human animals continue to exist after they die. The line of reasoning developed here can be extended to show that other organisms survive death in many actual cases. This line of reasoning improves on other arguments that have been offered against termination theses. And if my argument regarding human animals surviving death is successful, then assuming that human persons are animals, we can also conclude that human persons in many actual cases continue to exist after death.

Author's Profile

Robert Francescotti
San Diego State University

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