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Death and Nonexistence$
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Palle Yourgrau

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190247478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190247478.001.0001

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Nonexistence and Death

Nonexistence and Death

(p.38) III Nonexistence and Death
Death and Nonexistence

Palle Yourgrau

Oxford University Press

Since, as most philosophers of death agree, death implies nonexistence (the corpse is not the dead person, who is essentially a living being), it follows that the mystery of death is due in no small part to the paradox of nonexistence. Failing to recognize this, philosophers of death have failed to engage with the literature on the logic of nonexistence, and thus have failed to appreciate Russell’s 1902 distinction between existence and being in relation to the ontology of death. By contrast, it is maintained here that the dead are nonexistent objects that have forfeited their existence, but not their being. More generally, one of the principal goals of this study is to draw attention to the fact that the left hand of philosophy has ignored what the right hand is doing. The mysteries of death and nonexistence, which should have been approached together, have been kept apart.

Keywords:   death, nonexistence, corpse, essence, living being, Aristotle, Meinong, burying the dead, Kagan, Kamm

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