PHI101_71013_Lecture16_Oct27

PHI101_71013_Lecture16_Oct27 - PHI101(71013)...

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PHI 101 (71013) Dr. Tuomas Manninen ASU-West Pojman: “Personal identity and survival” October 27, 2009
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Is afterlife possible? What is meant by ‘possible’ here? o Varieties of possibility: Things can be logically possible : the thing (whatever it is) does not contradict the laws of logic. Things can be physically possible : that is, they do not violate the known laws of nature. Things can be metaphysically possible . This kind of possibility falls between these two: something is metaphysically possible if it does not contradict more fundamental metaphysical claims (say, about causation).
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Varieties of possibility Consider the statement “It is raining cats and dogs.” o If taken literally, this expresses a physical impossibility – given the known facts about precipitation, and the fact that condensed water vapor never produces an outpour of canines or felines. o Nevertheless, there is no contradiction involved in this statement, so this is logically possible.
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Possibility of afterlife? What can philosophy tell us about afterlife? o We know that afterlife is logically possible (unlike, for example, a round square, or a thing that both exists and doesn’t exist at the same time). o Can we establish that afterlife is physically possible? Given current evidence, this seems unlikely. o What about metaphysical possibility?
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Issues in survival Suppose you were given the option to survive in an artificial body: upon your death (or just prior to it), your memories would be copied to a prosthetic body, complete with an artificial brain. o Suppose, further, that you do not survive the operation where your memories are copied. o Would you assent to the procedure?
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Issues in survival   (2) If you agreed to this procedure, you would have your disembodied memories in a new body. But would this be you? o What about creating additional copies? This would seemingly violate numerical identity (one of you cannot be identical to more than one copy). o On one definition of the concept ‘person’, it has both the body and the consciousness (e.g. Peter Strawson); o Pojman seems to agree that we need both to keep on living (in the sense we understand the term).
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Issues in survival (3) Given that the brain seems to be the locus of consciousness, and that upon the death of the body, the brain disintegrates as well, is the physical death the end of consciousness (and, hence, the end of you)? o Or is death between conscious life and the afterlife (should there be one) like a long sleep?
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Eternal life – and why you may not want it “Vitalia had discovered the secret of eternal life. Now she vowed to destroy it. Two hundred years ago, she had been given the formula for an elixir of immortality by a certain Dr. Makropulos. Young and foolish, she had prepared and drunk it. Now she cursed her greed for life. Friends, lovers and relatives had grown old and died, leaving her alone.
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2010 for the course PHI PHI 101 taught by Professor Delvin during the Fall '10 term at ASU.

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PHI101_71013_Lecture16_Oct27 - PHI101(71013)...

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