Death and the Afterlife by Samuel SchefflerDeath and the Afterlife by Samuel Scheffler

Death and the Afterlife

bySamuel SchefflerEditorNiko Kolodny

Paperback | September 1, 2016

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Suppose you knew that, though you yourself would live your life to its natural end, the earth and all its inhabitants would be destroyed thirty days after your death. To what extent would you remain committed to your current projects and plans? Would scientists still search for a cure forcancer? Would couples still want children?In Death and the Afterlife, philosopher Samuel Scheffler poses this thought experiment in order to show that the continued life of the human race after our deaths - the "afterlife" of the title - matters to us to an astonishing and previously neglected degree. Indeed, Scheffler shows that, incertain important respects, the future existence of people who are as yet unborn matters more to us than our own continued existence and the continued existence of those we love. Without the expectation that humanity has a future, many of the things that now matter to us would cease to do so. Bycontrast, the prospect of our own deaths does little to undermine our confidence in the value of our activities. Despite the terror we may feel when contemplating our deaths, the prospect of humanity's imminent extinction would pose a far greater threat to our ability to lead lives of wholeheartedengagement. Scheffler further demonstrates that, although we are not unreasonable to fear death, personal immortality, like the imminent extinction of humanity, would also undermine our confidence in the values we hold dear. His arresting conclusion is that, in order for us to lead value-ladenlives, what is necessary is that we ourselves should die and that others should live. Death and the Afterlife concludes with commentary by four distinguished philosophers--Harry Frankfurt, Niko Kolodny, Seana Shiffrin, and Susan Wolf - who discuss Scheffler's ideas with insight and imagination. Scheffler adds a final reply.
Samuel Scheffler is University Professor in the Department of Philosophy at New York University. He is the author of Human Morality, Boundaries and Allegiances, and Equality and Tradition. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012, he delivered the prestigious Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Berkeley, on w...
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Title:Death and the AfterlifeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 7.99 × 5.24 × 0 inPublished:September 1, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019046917X

ISBN - 13:9780190469177

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Editorial Reviews

"Scheffler's book is a beautiful example of philosophical reflection on matters of great significance... He writes in a rigorous but engaging manner about things of obvious importance to us all. Death and the Afterlife is a model of how to make difficult philosophy intelligible to thinkingpeople." --Times Literary Supplement