Is Death the Absolute End of Human Existence?
Author: Filiz Peach (City University, PhD.)
There have been a number of fundamental questions that have preoccupied mankind throughout history. One of these is undoubtedly the notion of death. We all know that we shall die. However, there is no certainty at all as to when, where and how one might die, and this uncertainty paradoxically remains as something which is absolutely certain.
Indeed, death has empirical certainty as far as this certainty is based on an empirical observation of the death of others, and this is the only experience one has regarding death. This empirical certainty can make the individual aware of the factuality of the death of the other, but it cannot reveal any metaphysical insight about one’s own death; the ultimate metaphysical knowledge of this is not accessible to us.
It can be argued that the empirical inquiry into death is fundamentally different from death as a philosophical issue because there are some metaphysical questions which are relevant to human existence and the self-understanding of human beings, namely human finitude, death anxiety, and fear of death. We may acknowledge death in the abstract but when we have to face up to our own death, it turns into acute awareness of our total extinction as a human being.
First question to ask here is what exactly is death? Here are some descriptions:
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