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Where can I find some good philosophical/political arguments for and against

Where can I find some good philosophical/political arguments for and against euthanasia?

A very thoughtful article against the right to take one's own life is David Velleman's "A Right of Self-Termination?", in Ethics 109 (1999), pp. 606-628. I disagree with his conclusion, but his position is the one that has given me most pause about my own.

Well, certainly one classic paper is Joel Feinberg's "Voluntary Eutanasia and the Inalienable Right to Life", which just happens to be online here .

Is there a particular theory against the philosophical possibility of eternal

Is there a particular theory against the philosophical possibility of eternal life? I ask this because it seems to me that if eternal life were possible, men may lose the incentive to philosophize, hence the demise of philosophy.

I agree with Richard Heck's response, but would like to respond to the first part of this question. I think there are some fairly persuasive reasons for thinking there is no such thing as eternal life--though I doubt that an argument could be given to show its impossibility. So:

(1) If we agree that the body dies and is ultimately destroyed as an entity, then the only way there could be eternal life would be if the living self is entirely distinct from the body. But the kind of mind-body dualism that might make this possible has been shown (in many ways and by many philosophers) to be at least profoundly problematical, if not simply incoherent. Indeed, many philosophers regard the very idea of "disembodied existence" as problematical, if not simply incoherent.

(2) Even if survival of death means re-embodiment in some form, it would still appear that the living self is entirely separable from the body that dies, so that does not solve the problems of (1). Similarly, there seem to be fairly strong conceptual reasons for supposing that theories of reincarnation or transmigration of consciousness are incoherent. There are many technical reasons for this, but for an intuitive grasp of their gist, consider: Is it really imaginable that you could be both YOU and also A CHICKEN (for example)? How can a being have BOTH a human and a chicken form of consciousness (whatever that might be like)? If "what it is like" to be a chicken is something in principle not available to you, then actually being or becoming a chicken is something that in principle cannot happen to you--either you would not really be a chicken, or else you would be destroyed in the process.

Unless there is some other (coherent) way to conceive of eternal life, then I think you would do well to worry about the one (mortal) one you have. Last chance!

I don't understand the comment that follows the question. I can't think of any philosophical questions in which I'm reguarly interested that would look terribly different if I knew I was going to live forever. Indeed, as Wittgenstein writes in the Tractatus , it's quite unclear how much the fact of eternal life would do much even to solve philosophical questions about the "meaning" of life. As Wittgenstein notes, an eternal life would in many ways be as much of a puzzle as a mortal one.

Is it possible for one to possibly know what exists after death? As humans, with

Is it possible for one to possibly know what exists after death? As humans, with a mind that exists solely as physical matter (and a soul, if religion is counted), when we die, how is it possible for this purely physical mind to keep on functioning, and allow us to realize that we are dead? As well, if we have souls, how can an entity created purely of energy (or whatever you think a soul is made of) have senses and detect that it exists, or even think?

Some people think they do know what exists after death. As Alex notes, "Nothing" is one option, and some people believe they have strong enough evidence for this view to make it a reasonable belief, and perhaps even to count as knowledge. On the other side, there are people who would claim to know, on the basis of divine revelation, that they will survive the deaths of their bodies. Presumably, not both camps can be right, and both camps might be wrong about their claims to know. But I don't see any general reason, absent consideration of the details, for supposing neither of them could know.

Perhaps one wants to say that neither camp can really know, on the ground that truly conclusive evidence isn't available. But truly conclusive evidence is rarely available for anything, and yet we claim to know lots of things. That is to say: The claim that it is not possible to know what exists after death seems to be based upon a general sort of skeptical challenge that, allowed to run free, would undermine all claims to knowledge.

Some people think they do know what exists after death. As Alex notes, "Nothing" is one option, and some people believe they have strong enough evidence for this view to make it a reasonable belief, and perhaps even to count as knowledge. On the other side, there are people who would claim to know, on the basis of divine revelation, that they will survive the deaths of their bodies. Presumably, not both camps can be right, and both camps might be wrong about their claims to know . But I don't see any general reason, absent consideration of the details, for supposing neither of them could know. Perhaps one wants to say that neither camp can really know, on the ground that truly conclusive evidence isn't available. But truly conclusive evidence is rarely available for anything, and yet we claim to know lots of things. That is to say: The claim that it is not possible to know what exists after death seems to be based upon a general sort of skeptical challenge that, allowed to run free, would...

I don't know if this is a good question, but is it morally correct to execute

I don't know if this is a good question, but is it morally correct to execute murderers with lethal injections? I mean we are murdering them for murdering, which is kind of ironic; it would be like setting fire to a criminal who killed people by setting fire to them. Sure it's an eye for an eye, but is it correct? We are just humans, and it's not right how we sentence other humans to death; I don't think it's our place.

I tend to be opposed to the death penalty myself, but one needs a more subtle argument. Is imprisoning someone who has kidnapped someone kidnapping them for kidnapping? If you don't think so, then you need to ask what the difference is between that case and capital punishment.

I tend to be opposed to the death penalty myself, but one needs a more subtle argument. Is imprisoning someone who has kidnapped someone kidnapping them for kidnapping? If you don't think so, then you need to ask what the difference is between that case and capital punishment.

If people did not fear death, is it likely that religion as we know it would not

If people did not fear death, is it likely that religion as we know it would not exist?

That question can be taken in many different ways. One way is historical. I'm in no position to answer that question. Another would be sociological. I'm not in a position to answer that question, either. Part of the problem here is that I'm not an historian or sociologist. Another is that there's substantial vagueness in the phrase "religion as we know it".

Here's a different question I can answer: Does relgious faith have to be bound up with or somehow a consequence of one's fear of death? The answer to that question seems to me obviously to be "No". I suppose there are particular forms of religious faith that are so bound up with a fear of death, and perhaps these are the most visible in American public life or the most salient to non-believers, but there are plenty of forms of religious faith that are not.

That question can be taken in many different ways. One way is historical. I'm in no position to answer that question. Another would be sociological. I'm not in a position to answer that question, either. Part of the problem here is that I'm not an historian or sociologist. Another is that there's substantial vagueness in the phrase "religion as we know it". Here's a different question I can answer: Does relgious faith have to be bound up with or somehow a consequence of one's fear of death? The answer to that question seems to me obviously to be "No". I suppose there are particular forms of religious faith that are so bound up with a fear of death, and perhaps these are the most visible in American public life or the most salient to non-believers, but there are plenty of forms of religious faith that are not.