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Naturalism, Death, and Functional Immortality

Naturalism, Death, and Functional Immortality Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 6, No. 1 (June 2009), 39­65 Editions Rodopi © 2009 Charles A. Hobbs I consider a naturalistic approach to death, seeking a naturalistic or "functional" version of immortality. Making use of John Dewey and some other classical American philosophers, I first articulate the naturalism of this project. I then discuss what such naturalism means for understanding the self and its survival. Finally, I consider the existential question about to what extent such a view of immortality is satisfying. 1. Introduction Everyone dies. Now given this fact of our existence, I hold that the meaning of living, that is, of our experience, is never a completely separate issue from the meaning of our deaths and dying.1 It is from this context that I wish to articulate another approach to the meaning of death, which is simultaneously an approach to the meaning of our living.2 My approach is a naturalistic one. I shall articulate a kind of immortality in this world that is not to be conceived in a traditional Western sense of eternal, immutable, or otherwise ongoing existence of one's individual personality beyond the death of his or her earthly lived body. I wish, instead, to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Naturalism, Death, and Functional Immortality

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 6 (1): 39 – Apr 21, 2009

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2009 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-90000104
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 6, No. 1 (June 2009), 39­65 Editions Rodopi © 2009 Charles A. Hobbs I consider a naturalistic approach to death, seeking a naturalistic or "functional" version of immortality. Making use of John Dewey and some other classical American philosophers, I first articulate the naturalism of this project. I then discuss what such naturalism means for understanding the self and its survival. Finally, I consider the existential question about to what extent such a view of immortality is satisfying. 1. Introduction Everyone dies. Now given this fact of our existence, I hold that the meaning of living, that is, of our experience, is never a completely separate issue from the meaning of our deaths and dying.1 It is from this context that I wish to articulate another approach to the meaning of death, which is simultaneously an approach to the meaning of our living.2 My approach is a naturalistic one. I shall articulate a kind of immortality in this world that is not to be conceived in a traditional Western sense of eternal, immutable, or otherwise ongoing existence of one's individual personality beyond the death of his or her earthly lived body. I wish, instead, to

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2009

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