Contribution to Book
What is death? How can its occurrence be detected? These questions are interrelated, as we can reliably detect death only if we know what it is. The standard view is that dying consists of ceasing to be alive. However, this, the loss of life account of death, seems to be open to various challenges. For example, it is sometimes rejected on the grounds that a living thing might cease to exist, losing life thereby, without dying. We will need to determine whether this criticism has merit. Moreover, in order to clarify what death is for you and me, we must consider what type of thing we are, since what it takes to end a creature’s existence depends on what that creature is. Many theorists claim that you and I are persons, where being a person entails having various sorts of psychological features, such as the capacity for self-awareness. If these theorists are correct, then the loss of these features would end our existence, and the question will arise as to whether that loss would constitute death.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Miriam Solomon, Jeremy R. Simon, & Harold Kincaid
Luper, S. (2017). Death. In M. Solomon, J. R. Simon, & H. Kincaid (Eds.), The Routledge companion to philosophy of medicine (pp. 115-123). Routledge.
The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine