Can "my death" be an abstract entity? I don't think it's a universal, because, in the manner I mean it, "my death" only occurs once. But, and this is what motivates the question, it seems strange to say that it's an abstract entity, because as soon as it exists it can't exist for me. Obviously that's not an argument, at all, but I'm intrigued if it can be an "abstract entity", on those grounds.

If it's not ab abstract entity, then where is it?

  • 1
    An Event. Commented May 2, 2018 at 14:17
  • Although your death it happens, there is not a first instant or state where it has taken place but before which it has not taken place. It suffers the sorites problem, and that means it is an abstract entity and not a concrete one. If there are a range of events that may or may not constitute your death, yet we maintain a single reference, then the concept has been abstracted from those instances.
    – user9166
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 15:41
  • Why do you think abstraction and universality should be related? Things like "large cardinals" or "a deterministic universe" are clearly abstractions, and obviously we do not agree upon whether they exist. The intuition of them is not universal.
    – user9166
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 15:46
  • We can not know in what manner you mean it unless you explain it. There do exist concrete universals.
    – Conifold
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 22:16

2 Answers 2


The following description of the dichotomy between abstract and concrete may be useful to decide if "my death" is abstract or concrete:

The abstract/concrete distinction has a curious status in contemporary philosophy. It is widely agreed that the distinction is of fundamental importance. And yet there is no standard account of how it should be drawn. There is a great deal of agreement about how to classify certain paradigm cases. Thus it is universally acknowledged that numbers and the other objects of pure mathematics are abstract (if they exist), whereas rocks and trees and human beings are concrete.

This is taken from Rosen, Gideon, "Abstract Objects", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/abstract-objects/

Based on this "great deal of agreement", since "my death" describes an event occurring to a concrete human being, one can assume that "my death" would also be concrete rather than abstract unless one prefers some other way to make the dichotomy between abstract and concrete.


I definitely think "my death" is a concrete object, though, perhaps, 'my mortality' is an abstract one.

There's lots of experiences I will never experience, but I don't think that necessarily means they are abstractions.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .