Reflect on Your Death

Mon, Apr 24

Death presents us with perhaps the most formidable challenge to living a good life. Philosophical questions about death abound: what is it to die? Is the state of death separable from the process of dying? If so, which of these -- if either -- are bad? And how could they be bad for us, if we don't exist once we die? 

In this session, we'll revisit the competing views of the good life we've been considering all semester, and ask what they have to say about the role death should play in our thinking about this topic. By the end of this day, you will: 

  1. Understand and explain Bernard Williams's argument that immortality is undesirable, as well as Scheffler's response
  2. Be able to critically evaluate philosophical arguments about the optimal length of life
  3. Be able to articulate what role you think contemplation of death plays in the good life

Read This:

Prof. Blaschko's students should read this: Longer Lives and the Alleged Tedium of Immortality (Williams and Scheffler on Death)

Prof. Christy's students should read and annotate this same text via Perusall.

Do This:

Prof. Blaschko's students: Read and annotate the short "Application Article" on Perusall.

Prof. Christy's students: Read the short "Application Article" on Perusall; complete Comprehension Check #5 by 11:59pm on April 23.

All students: After you've finished today's reading, make sure you complete the reading quiz, which you can access through your section's Canvas page.


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