Death Pain And Animal Life Christopher Belshaw Pdf

death pain and animal life christopher belshaw pdf

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Wild animal suffering

This chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is the philosophical aspect of death. The book answers questions about what death is and why it matters that help define the growing interdisciplinary subfield of philosophy of death.

It analyzes the views of ancient Greek philosophers including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus about death; investigates how death is related to various concepts including disintegration of personality, personal identity, and pleasure; and explores the concept of immortality, the wrongness of killing, and the significance of death for animals. Keywords: philosophy of death , disintegration of personality , personal identity , pleasure , immortality , wrongness of killing , animals , Greek philosophers.

The philosophy of death spans many subdisciplines of philosophy. If you are on a search committee in a philosophy department, you might have no applicants who list philosophy of death as an area of specialization or competence.

As we will see, what we say about many well-known questions of philosophy will have implications for what we think about death. It is natural to say that to die is to cease to be alive. But there seem to be cases in which a thing ceases to be alive without dying. These include cases of suspended animation, where life processes stop but could be restarted, and fission, where a living being divides into two new living beings. One of the main challenges in understanding death is to understand the difference between cases where fission involves death and cases where it does not.

Among the oldest philosophical questions are questions about personal identity. What is a person? What are the persistence conditions for people? The answers p. Most nonphilosophers seem to believe that each person has a nonphysical soul that continues to exist after the death of the body, perhaps in heaven, hell, or purgatory.

But this view is not widely held by philosophers, because the existence of a nonphysical soul is usually thought to be problematic. The most popular views about what we are include the view that we are, fundamentally and essentially, animals—the biological view—and the view that we are essentially psychological entities—the psychological view.

If the biological view is true, then what we say about our persistence conditions should mirror what we say about the persistence conditions of other biological organisms such as trees. If we are essentially psychological entities, and our persistence conditions are determined by relations of psychological connectedness over time, it would seem we go out of existence at or before biological death unless, perhaps, another organism stands in the appropriate psychological relations.

Fred Feldman defends the view that we continue to exist after death, either as dead people or as dead things that were once people chapter 2. Eric Olson gives objections to this view, but concludes that all views about what happens to us when we die are beset with problems chapter 3. Philosophical questions about time have been thought to be relevant to questions about death.

In various ways, it has been thought to matter whether the past and future are real. If the future is not real, perhaps we should not be afraid of our future deaths, since they are not real. If the past is not real, perhaps death cannot be bad for us, since once we die and are purely past, we will in no way exist to be the subject of harm.

Ted Sider argues that we need not adopt any particular view about the metaphysics of time in order to hold that death is bad chapter 5. According to Sider, we must be careful to distinguish whether we are making ordinary claims, such as that the table is hard, or claims about fundamental reality, such as that there are no tables but only simples arranged tablewise.

The claim that death is bad is an ordinary claim, while views about the reality of the past and future are views about the underlying nature of reality; the ordinary claim about death could be underwritten by a variety of metaphysical views but might not be undermined by any of them. If time is not linear but circular, then we will, in some sense, live again one day.

Perhaps accepting this view about time should to some degree temper our sadness about our deaths. As Gareth Matthews and Phillip Mitsis explain in chapters 7 and 8 , the great Ancient Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus typically argued that we should not fear death, because it is not bad for us.

Most of these arguments do not strike contemporary philosophers as compelling. Two arguments have received the most attention. The timing argument goes like this: there is no time at which death could harm me, since, as I go out of existence at the moment of my death, I do not overlap in time with my own death; thus death cannot be bad for me.

The symmetry argument goes like this: there is no reason to be afraid of my own future nonexistence, because future nonexistence is no more to be feared than past nonexistence, and I neither fear nor have any reason to fear or have any negative attitude toward my own past nonexistence. Roy Sorensen and Jens Johansson address these arguments at length in chapters 10 and 11 , and they are also addressed in several other chapters.

Epicurus seemed to think that since a person goes out of existence when she dies, death cannot be bad because the dead person can have no painful experiences. But those who think death is bad are not moved by this line of reasoning. The standard way to account for the badness of death is to endorse some sort of deprivation account. According to the deprivation account, death is bad for someone if, and to the extent that, it deprives that individual of a more valuable life.

Thus it is possible for death to be bad without involving any painful postmortem experiences. John Broome provides a careful statement of the deprivation account in chapter 9. Some have wondered whether the fact that death deprives its victim of the goods of life is sufficient for death to be a genuine misfortune for its victim. Christopher Belshaw also argues that mere deprivation is insufficient for death to be a misfortune. Rather, he says chapter 12 , the victim must also have had a desire to live.

There is another desire-based view of the badness of death that has found a number of adherents. Joel Feinberg and George Pitcher claimed that death is bad in virtue of the fact that it frustrates the interests, that is, the desires, of the deceased Feinberg, ; Pitcher, When death frustrates an interest, it is bad for the individual who had that interest, and moreover, it is bad for her at the time she had the interest.

Thus we would seem to have an answer to the timing problem: death is bad for its victim at times before she died. Steven Luper defends a version of this view of posthumous harm in chapter Williams claimed that one would eventually run out of reasons to live, and then death would cease to be a misfortune. His arguments for these claims were suggestive but cryptic.

John Fischer and Connie Rosati criticize those arguments in chapters 15 and Fischer argues that a certain p. One reason we might care about these questions about the badness of death is that we care about justifying the claim that killing is wrong, and the wrongness of killing seems to have something to do with how bad death is for the victim.

But it seems wrong to say that the degree of wrongness of killing someone depends on how bad it is for that person to die, because even if death would not be very bad for its victim perhaps because he is very old and does not have long to live anyway , it would still be seriously wrong to murder that person.

Matthew Hanser attempts to explain this in chapter 17 by appeal to a respect-based view of the wrongness of killing. While killing another person is normally seriously wrong, there are some cases of killing about which it is not so obvious what to say.

What, if anything, might make it permissible to kill fetuses, nonhuman animals, combatants, murderers, or the terminally ill? Some of these topics are taken up in the final four chapters. Sometimes there is controversy over the wrongness of killing certain individuals at least in part in virtue of controversy over whether death is bad for those individuals. For example, it is sometimes argued that death is not bad for nonhuman animals or human fetuses in virtue of the fact that they lack relevant desires, or have insufficient psychological connectedness over time.

Don Marquis and Alastair Norcross criticize these arguments concerning animals Norcross, chapter 20 and fetuses Marquis, chapter Sometimes there is little controversy that death is bad for an individual, but there are reasons to think that killing that individual might be justified in any case. In various ways, and from different perspectives, all these essays might be thought to answer one or both of the following questions: what is death, and why does death matter?

These are the questions that define the growing intersubdisciplinary field of philosophy of death. Feinberg, Joel. Harm to Others. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Find this resource:. Nagel, Thomas.

Pitcher, George. Williams, Bernard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fred Feldman is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he has been teaching since He has long been fascinated by philosophical problems about the nature and value of death.

Oxford University Press, and several other books and more than seventy-five papers in professional journals. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice.

Oxford Handbooks Online. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Recently viewed 0 Save Search. Introduction: Philosophy of Death. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death. Read More.

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Sign in with your library card Please enter your library card number. Search within In This Article References. Introduction: Philosophy of Death Abstract and Keywords This chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is the philosophical aspect of death.

Dr Christopher Belshaw

Wild animal suffering is the suffering experienced by nonhuman animals living outside of direct human control, due to harms such as disease , injury , parasitism , starvation , dehydration , extreme weather , natural disasters , and killings by other animals. There is considerable disagreement around this latter point, as many believe that human interventions in nature, for this reason, would be either unfeasible, [5] or unethical. In his autobiography , Charles Darwin acknowledged that the existence of extensive suffering in nature was fully compatible with the workings of natural selection , yet maintained that pleasure was the main driver of fitness-increasing behavior in organisms. From this, Dawkins concludes that the natural world must necessarily contain enormous amounts of animal suffering as an inevitable consequence of Darwinian evolution. The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation.

Arthur Schopenhauer — was a German philosopher known for his atheism and pessimism—in fact, he is the most prominent pessimist in the entire western philosophical tradition. His analysis led him to the conclusion that emotional, physical, and sexual desires cause suffering and can never be fulfilled; consequently, he favored a lifestyle of negating desires, similar to the teachings of Buddhism and Vedanta. Schopenhauer influenced many thinkers including Nietzsche , Wittgenstein , Einstein , and Freud. Contradicting what many philosophers had stated previously, Schopenhauer argued that evil is a real thing, with good being the lack of evil. We can see this by considering that happiness or satisfaction always imply some state of pain or unhappiness being brought to an end; and by the fact that pleasure is not generally as pleasant as we expect, while pain much worse than imagined. So it is that in our good days we are all unconscious of the evil Fate may have in store for us—sickness, poverty, mutilation, loss of sight or reason.

Death, Pain, and Animal Life

This book brings together analyses in the fields of value theory, normative and applied ethics on the issue of killing animals. It addresses a number of questions: Can painless killing harm or benefit an animal and, if so, why and under what conditions? Is killing animals morally acceptable? Should animals have the legal right to life? In addressing these questions, the animal rights and animal welfare positions are articulated and debated by some of the foremost thinkers on these issues, with a distinction made between rights-based and uti

This chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is the philosophical aspect of death. The book answers questions about what death is and why it matters that help define the growing interdisciplinary subfield of philosophy of death. It analyzes the views of ancient Greek philosophers including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus about death; investigates how death is related to various concepts including disintegration of personality, personal identity, and pleasure; and explores the concept of immortality, the wrongness of killing, and the significance of death for animals.

Reason and Meaning

Edited by Ben Bradley, Fred Feldman, and Jens Johansson

Coronavirus: Please be aware it may take us slightly longer to respond than usual. Find out about our coronavirus response and current contact hours. Christopher Belshaw studied philosophy at the University of York a long time ago, being taught by, among others, Tom Baldwin and Roger Woolhouse. Later, but still a long time ago, he did research work at UC Santa Barbara. Work in this area has issued in a number of publications, including several books. Another book, 10 Good Questions about Life and Death Blackwell is differently styled and aims at a broader audience. In recent years Chris has taught modules on the value and meaning of life, life and death, and environmental philosophy to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of York.

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Categorical Desires and the Badness of Animal Death

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