Proponents of the loss of life account might also turn the tables on its critics, and argue as follows: nothing can be alive unless it exists, so if something ceases to exist it ceases to be alive, but to cease to be alive. So there are no deathless exits after all. 1.6 Criteria for death Defining death is one thing; providing criteria by which it can be readily detected or verified is another. A definition is an account of what death (is when, and only when its definition is met, death has necessarily occurred. A criterion for death, by contrast, lays out conditions by which all and only actual deaths may be readily identified. Such a criterion falls short of a definition, but plays a practical role. For example, it would help physicians and jurists determine when death has occurred.
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However, in certain contexts, such as in morgues, we seem to use the terms dead animal driving and dead person to mean remains of something that was an animal or remains of something that was a person. On this interpretation, even in morgues calling something a dead person does not imply that it is a person. What about the second question: can creatures cease to exist without dying? Certainly things that never were alive, such as bubbles and statues, can be deathlessly annihilated. Arguably, there are also ways that living creatures can be deathlessly annihilated (Rosenberg 1983, feldman 1992, gilmore 2013). Perhaps an amoebas existence ends when it splits, replacing itself with two amoebas, and the existence of chlamydomonas ends when pairs of them fuse to form a zygote. Yet when amoebas split, and chlamydomonas fuse, the vital processes that sustain them do not cease. If people could divide like amoebas, perhaps they, too could cease to exist without dying. (For a famous discussion of division, fusion, and their implications, see parfit 1981.) If such deathless exits are possible, we would have to modify the loss of life account of death. However, proponents of that account can hold their ground. They can say that division, fusion, and other apparent examples of deathless exits are unusual ways of dying, because nonexistence is not brought about via the destruction of vital processes, but they are not ways of escaping death essay altogether.
The dead survivors view has been defended by various theorists, most notably Fred Feldman (1992, 2000, 2013). One point cited in its favor is that we commonly refer to dead animals (and dead plants) which may suggest that we believe that animals continue to exist, as animals, while no longer alive. The idea might be that an animal continues to count as the same animal if enough of its original components remain in much the same order, and animals continue to meet this condition for a time following death (Mackie 1997). On this view, if you and i are animals (as animalists say) then we could survive for a time after we are dead, albeit as corpses. In fact, we could survive indefinitely, by arranging to have our corpses preserved. However, this way of defending the dead survivors view may not be decisive. The terms dead animal and dead person seem ambiguous. Normally, when we use dead people or dead animal we mean to speak of persons or animals who lived in the past. One dead person I can name is Socrates; he is now a dead person even though his corpse surely has ceased analysis to exist.
Moreover, human beings sometimes survive the destruction of the mind, as when the cerebrum dies but the brainstem does not, leaving an individual in a persistent vegetative state. It is also conceivable that the mind can survive the extinction of the human being: this might occur if the brain is removed from the body, kept alive artificially, and the remainder of the body how is destroyed (assuming that a bare brain is not. These possibilities suggest that death as understood by mindists can occur even though death as understood by animalists has not (and also that the latter sort of death need not be accompanied by the former.).5 death and Existence What is the relationship between existence. May people and other creatures continue to exist after dying, or cease to exist without dying? Take the first question: may you and i and other creatures continue to exist for some time flight after our lives end? The view that death entails our annihilation has been called the termination thesis (Feldman 1992). The position that we can indeed survive death we might call the dead survivors view.
Animalism suggests that we persist over time just in case we remain the same animal; mindism suggests that we persist just when we remain the same mind. Personism is usually paired with the view that our persistence is determined by our psychological features and the relations among them (Locke 1689, parfit 1984). If we are animals, with the persistence conditions of animals, our deaths are constituted by the cessation of the vital processes that sustain our existence as human beings. If we are minds, our deaths are constituted by the extinction of the vital processes that sustain our existence as minds. And if persistence is determined by our retaining certain psychological features, then the loss of those features will constitute death. These three ways of understanding death have very different implications. Severe dementia can destroy a great many psychological features without destroying the mind, which suggests that death as understood by personists can occur even though death as understood by mindists has not.
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Restoration, not revival, is a way of bringing a creature back from the dead. Now imagine a device that repairs corpses: it moves molecules back to where they were prior to the death of the creature that left the corpse, and restarts its vital processes. Like the disassembler-reassembler, the corpse reanimator would resurrect the dead—it would restore the lives of people who have died. Given the possibilities of restoration and revivification, it seems best to refine the loss of life account, as follows: dying is the loss of a things life—the loss of its capacity to perpetuate itself using vital processes. A thing dies at the time it loses this capacity.
It is dead at all times afterwards, except while that capacity is regained. 1.4 medea death and What we are death for you and me is constituted by the loss of our capacity to sustain ourselves using vital processes. This characterization of death could be sharpened if we had a clearer idea of what we are, and the conditions under which we persist. However, the latter is a matter of controversy. There are three main views: animalism, which says that we are human beings (Snowdon 1990, Olson 1997, 2007 personism, which says that we are creatures with the capacity for self-awareness; and mindism, which says that we are minds (which may or may not have the.
What seems relatively uncontroversial is that being dead consists in unviability. To retain the loss of life account, we have only to add that being alive consists in viability. We can then say that a frozen embryo is viable and hence alive despite its lack of vitality, and it will die if its life ends (it will die if it ceases to be viable). Of course, if we are willing to abandon the loss of life account, we could instead use alive to characterize something that is both viable and vital. We would then say that a frozen embryo is not alive (since it lacks vitality) but also that it is not dead (since it remains viable). 1.3 Resurrection It will be useful to sharpen the loss of life account if, as seems conceivable, it is possible to restore life to something that has died.
Restoration in this sense is quite different from the revival of something, such as a frozen embryo, whose vital processes have been halted. Something can be revived only if it is alive—only if it has the capacity to deploy vital processes, as in the case of a frozen zygote. It is revived when it regains vitality. Somethings life can be restored only if it has lost its capacity for vital processes. Life is restored when this capacity is regained. To bring the possibility of restoration into view, imagine a futuristic device, the disassembler-reassembler, that reduces me to small cubes, or individual cells, or disconnected atoms, which it stores and later reassembles just as they were before. Many of us will say that I would survive—my life would continue—after reassembly, but it is quite clear that I would not live during intervals when my atoms are stacked in storage. I would not even exist during such intervals. If I can be reassembled, my life would be restored, not revived.
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If we deny that they are alive, presumably we would do so on the grounds that their vital processes are halted. If somethings life can be ended by suspending its vital processes without its dying, then we must reject the loss of life account of death. However, the loss of life account is thoroughly established in ordinary usage, and is easily reconciled with the possibility of suspended animation. In denying that frozen embryos are dead, it is clear that we mean to emphasize that they have not lost the capacity to deploy their vital processes. When we say that something is dead, we mean to emphasize that this capacity has been lost. Having used dead to signal this loss, why would we want to use the word alive reviews to signal the fact that something is making active use of its vital processes? Our best option is to use a pair of contrasting terms. We can use viable to indicate that something has the capacity to deploy vital processes and unviable to indicate that it has lost this capacity. When instead we are concerned about whether or not something is engaging its vital processes, we can use different contrasting terms, say vital and nonvital, the former to characterize something that is employing its capacity for vital processes and the latter to characterize something that.
Call this integration death. Thus death can be a state (being dead the process of extinction (dying or one of three events that occur during the dying process. Death in all of these senses can be further distinguished from events—such as being shot with an arrow—that cause death. 1.2 death and Suspended Animation The loss of life account of death has been challenged by theorists who claim that things placed in suspended animation are not alive (Feldman 1992, Christopher Belsaw 2009, cody gilmore 2013, and david degrazia 2014). When zygotes and embryos are frozen for yoga later use in the in vitro fertilization procedure, their vital processes are brought to a stop, or very nearly. The same goes for water bears that are dehydrated, and for seeds and spores. It seems clear that the zygotes and water bears are not dead, since their vital processes can easily be restarted—by warming the zygote or by wetting the water bear. They are not dead, but are they alive?
might be a momentary event. This event might be understood in three ways. First, it might be the ending of the dying process—the loss of the very last trace of life. Call this denouement death. Second, it might be the point in the dying process when extinction is assured, at least given the resources available to prevent. Call this moment threshold death. A third possibility is that life ends when the physiological systems of the body have lost the capacity to function as an integrated whole, or when this loss becomes irreversible (Belshaw 2009; degrazia 2014).
Let us call these vital processes. It is one thing to have the capacity to deploy these processes and another to actually deploy them, just as there is a difference between having the ability to run and actually running. For something to have the property alive seems to be a matter of its having the capacity to sustain itself using processes that are saliently similar to these. (For accounts of life, see van. Inwagen 1990 and Bedau 2014. by contrast, the property dead seems applicable to something that has lost this capacity. We can call this the loss of life account of death. The event by which the capacity to employ vital processes is lost is one thing and the condition of having lost it is another.
Frederick jackson Turner, wikipedia
Death is lifes ending. To clarify death further, we will need to say a bit about the nature of life, and ask whether life can be suspended or restored, and how it relates to our continued existence. We can also distinguish between the concept of death and criteria by which death can be detected. 1.1 Life and death, it is not easy to clarify the nature of life. Suppose we could construct a machine, the hal.01, with (nearly) all of the psychological attributes of persons: would hal.01 be alive? Probably not, given the nature of hals hardware. It seems that being conscious does not entail being alive. Still, to the extent that we are puzzled about the nature of life, we will be puzzled about what is entailed by the ending of life, that is, death. Things that are alive have a distinctive capacity to develop or maintain themselves by engaging in various processes including chemosynthesis, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, cell generation, and maintenance of homeostasis.