Have dead people really died if they don't exist? Can we predicate having died of a dead person, if they don't exist?

I'm not asking if they're dead, they are. I'm not sure that Pegasus has ever really flown, so why think that dead people have really died? Is there something weird about actions, like having flown and having died, apart from I suppose being (I think Hercules really was heroic), and non-existent entities?

That reads like nonsense, sorry. Just asked this question about verbs and Buddhism, which is why I asked this one.

put on hold as unclear what you're asking by Eliran, Mark Andrews, christo183, Swami Vishwananda, Bread Feb 12 at 1:45

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Under your definition, they have not

If you equate death with non-existence, then person dying is simply fading into nothingness. Since someone cannot exist and not-exist at the same time, you have to define moment of death. Before that moment person is still alive, after that moment it does not exist, so logically cannot die. Moment, by definition, is infinitesimally small and it is not dividable, therefore it is just a border between existence and non-existence, not a period (interval) where someone could die.

Of course, this is only if we abide by your definition of death.


Have dead people really died if they don't exist?

This is an invalid premise, because people do 'exist' after death.

  1. Their bodies continue to exist, in a state of decomposition.
  2. Memories of their lives continue to exist, in others' minds.
  3. Consciousness may be universal, existing independently (the human brain and body possibly acting as a biological transceiver, simply processing information) -- so it can't die.

In Second Nature, Gerald Edelman defines human consciousness as:

"... what you lose on entering a dreamless deep sleep ... deep anesthesia or coma ... what you regain after emerging from these states.

So if losing and regaining consciousness depends on a person's physical condition, and additionally many people have reported retaining consciousness even while supposedly clinically dead for short periods of time, it stands to reason that consciousness exists with or without a body suitable for processing and expressing thoughts, experiences, and ideas.

Therefore, since people actually do exist in some form after death, they surely had to experience death with all its associated reversals of fortune, in order to end up in that condition.


The question in itself is not bad. It all again depends on definitions of who are considered to have died and who not. Would people who died in an NDE and came back from death be considered dead? You raise the question if people in a dead state do or do not exist. Again what defines the borders? The last breath or the final stage of decay? And nature recycles everything so noone goes out of existence regarding the matter one is made of.

The Ancient Egyptians supported their dead with tombs, preservation of the mummified corpse while cultic belief in a life beyond death where the idea of the soul was able to return to the deceased was canon.

In your question the key is time. You compare the time period in which a person deceased with a future where he does not exist (which is an unclear defining of when that is). The human race has enough experience with death to say Yes they have died even if they don’t exist today. Because the reference of dead people is to the time when they lived and have died, not referring to the present where they do not exist in the definition of being able to meet them breathing.

But for sure we do not know when life starts or when it ends. Life is a potential and we are all ‘crystalizations’ of that chance even if we are essentially made of the same matter around us that does not follow growth patterns encrypted in our DNA. So those who died are parts of us. We are what is left of them. So Maybe they did not fully die. Each one of us keeps them alive. By memory or by giving life forward in time space.

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