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22

This isn't really a philosophy question, but there is no atheism stackexchange and so it seems philosophy is the next best bet (we do address the philosophy of religion/religiosity and the lack thereof, but a question phrased like this is more of a psychology and/or cultural question). However, psychology wouldn't take this question and since I can't think ...


18

Yes, many authors have written about this. Shelly Kagan of Yale comes to mind. His famous class on Death should prove to be informative. He also wrote a book. Kagan cites many philosophers (many of which I forget) throughout the series. Back to Epicurus; his argument is logically sound, except that you misrepresent the corollary. Philosophers that think ...


18

Death is not the opposite of existence. The opposite of existence of is non-existence, and the opposite of death is life. Existence does not necessarily entail life, but life necessarily entails existence. So when philosophers argue for the existence of God, they're not arguing that he is "alive", and thus the notion of death is not applicable.


13

I've been an atheist for as long as I can remember (I never quite believed anyone could rise from the dead, walk on water and stuff without documented, repeatable proof) and I've never struggled with this question, for the simple fact that life is awesome. I love many things: Photography, gadgets, my wife, my cat, my family, helping people. I get much ...


11

Actually the whole business of living other than the animalic part, is denying death. So the idealism you are seeking by not denying death is itself a denial of death. [I] The human animal is the only animal that knows it is going to die. (Sartre) As a result we fear death but not necessarily consciously: If this fear [of death] were as constantly ...


10

If death is the unequivocal and permanent end of our existence, the question arises whether it is a bad thing to die.1 Look no further than Thomas Nagel (at least initially). There is a book called Mortal Questions which is a collection of his papers on the subject. It opens with a true masterpiece in ethics, appropriately titled Death. This first ...


10

A good place to start would be Plato's Phaedo. It is arguably the first non-religious, purely philosophical treatment of death/mortality/immortality in Western philosophy. Plato tries to convince his students that they should not fear for his soul for it will live beyond his body. A very moving text too.


10

There are already several answers that hint at what I'm about to say, but here's my opinion on the matter. I've been an Atheist my whole life (I was actually shocked to learn that other people took religion seriously), but the full consequences of my (lack of) beliefs didn't hit me until I was about 12, when I first realized that I would die and that every ...


9

Under some assumptions about cosmology, you will exist an infinite number of times in the future as a Boltzmann brain. Indeed you could right now be a Boltzmann brain. This requires that the probability that you will exist spontaneously from random wavefunction collapse is greater than zero, will remain greater than zero, and time is infinite. This also ...


9

Interesting question; I've been pondering/researching the topic of escapism recently. To answer your first question, willful ignorance can certainly be a form of escapism, in the broad sense of the term - keeping in mind that "escapism" is rather loosely defined. If escapism has a more precise philosophical definition that I'm not aware of, then you can ...


8

I feel your pain. I grew up Catholic, but I lost my faith in my early 20s when I began asking questions and discovered answers that completely contradicted what I had known to be the truth. I'm actually upset that I lost that faith. As you're well aware, it provides comfort and gives you specific purpose in life - be good for 100 years and you'll have an ...


8

The answer lies in the Phaedo, not much after the passage on suicide, to which you referred. The issue of suicide arises in the context of the question, put to Socrates, why he seemed to favor death, rather than struggling to avoid it. And a part of his answer was, that the knowledge which the philosopher seeks all his life, seems to await him after death. ...


7

The notion that death gives meaning to life is less a well-defined theoretical position than a commonplace; it strikes me in this sense as similar to the notion that "hate and love are the closest emotions" at least insofar as it might be difficult to isolate specifically philosophical expressions of this notion, but nevertheless it is a very frequently-...


7

Side note: This could be thought of a philosophy of mind question but as it reads, it seems more like an ethology question, or (animal) psychology question which may or may not be fit for CogSci. That is, it seems you are asking for scientific evidence/research that indicates animals display the same kind of behaviors humans do which indicate an ...


7

Atheism is a belief that there are no deities (from the Greek ἄθεος, or "without gods"). It has nothing to do with their "existence," "minds," "personalities," or "selves." There are also degrees of atheism. There is the hardest of atheism, which believes there are no gods, and there are softer atheisms, which are not certain there is a god. (The latter ...


7

This question takes it for granted that fear of death is a logical necessary thing. However, there is nothing that is more clearly a product of evolution than fear of death. There is no deep truth about the fact that lack of fear of death is not selected for in nature. It is hard to defend the worth of meditating and/or obsessing about something that has an ...


6

Inductive inference. All humans have died so far, therefore (in all likelihood) all humans die at some point. You are human, I take it, so there you go.


6

Does the concept of existence entail the concept of death? Absolutely not. The concept of "immortality" clearly demonstrates that it doesn't.


6

From a physical perspective, your particular neural impulses are so wildly improbable that when you're dead, there won't be another "you" in any meaningful sense, unless the universe happens to be infinite (in which case every possible thing will happen an infinite number of times). From a philosophical (or psychological!) perspective, you get into tricky ...


5

A nice little book on the subject, broadly, is The Book of Dead Philosophers by Simon Critchley, who is himself a philosopher. He takes Cicero's famous quote, "To philosophize is to learn how to die", as a starting point and then takes a look at 190 (or so) dead philosophers, what they had to say about life and death, what they contributed to philosophy's ...


5

Jacques Derrida has a wonderful book on the subject (with particular reference to Heidegger), entitled Aporias; however, it is a dense and difficult book, and the fact that your question is framed without reference to a particular philosophical tradition leads me to suspect that you haven't delved deeply into this area already. The thematics around ...


5

I don't think there is a problem for nominalists here. I take nominalism to be the view that there are only individuals or particulars - concrete things or signs of concrete things, particular objects, states and events in space/time. My own death is, or will be, an individual event in space/time. What it will not be is an instance of a universal, namely ...


4

Read Heidegger and his thoughts on Dasein. This is from wikipedia on Heidegger's being-toward-death Heidegger states that Authentic being-toward-death calls Dasein's individual self out of its "they-self", and frees it to re-evaluate life from the standpoint of finitude. In so doing, Dasein opens itself up for "angst," translated alternately as "dread" ...


4

I think you have a point, though I wouldn't phrase it quite in the terms that you have. Being alive is difficult: pathogens, DNA damage, injury, starvation, cancer. This is what makes death (of cells, at least) unavoidable. Life has come up with a really clever way around these problems, though, in reproduction: make as clean of a copy as you can (...


4

A friend of mine just asked me a similar question. What if we have existed like this before? My answer was it does not matter. Because for it to be like now it would have to be independent from now. And if it is independent from now it does not matter since there is no correlation or causation. Just coincidence.


4

As an atheist myself, this is a question that I, personally, have struggled with. I've never been suicidal, or even had serious suicidal thoughts, but pondering my own existence and the reasons thereof is one of the things I often do during meditation. Assuming you were apart of one of the three major Abrahamic religions (I do apologize if I am wrong), ...


4

There is a lot of Ben and Jerrys left to be eaten, places to see, and so on. As with everything else in life, just because the fun will eventually end, does not imply that you need to end it early. Have you ever met a kid that don't want to go to Disney land, for the reason that you eventually will have to leave?


4

The Last man is Nietzsche's antithesis of the Übermensch in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The Last Man sought eternal life at all costs, including costs Nietzsche despised, such as sacrificing love and happiness. Excerpts from Zarathustra's Prologue suggest that Deleuze's quote may be in reference to the Preachers of Death in I 9. They appear to have the ...


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