What happens to us when we die?

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Consul
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Consul » February 19th, 2018, 1:10 am

Steve3007 wrote:
February 18th, 2018, 6:56 pm
"Corpsism is the thesis that an animal is an enduring thing that survives death as a corpse, until the corpse disintegrates."
Corpsism. I like that. I like the craziness of it. I wonder what criteria the corpsist uses to determine whether the animal has disintegrated. As with so much else in life, rotting away is not an all-or-nothing affair. It's a process without any hard dividing line between corpse and no-corpse. Unless we're cremated, of course.
I concede that the question When does a naturally decaying dead animal cease to exist (as an animal)? cannot be given a precise answer. Exactly how many percent of a corpse must remain intact in order for it to be still in existence (as a dead animal)? – I don't know (but I'd say confidently that a mere skeleton is no longer an animal).
However, questions concerning the beginning or end of existence of an individual object or person are generally fraught with problems of vagueness. For example, even if you're a substance dualist believing that we are body-soul compounds, the question arises as to when exactly our souls are connected to and unified with our bodies during the development of the latter in our mother's womb.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Greta
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Greta » February 19th, 2018, 2:28 am

Consul wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 1:10 am
Steve3007 wrote:
February 18th, 2018, 6:56 pm

Corpsism. I like that. I like the craziness of it. I wonder what criteria the corpsist uses to determine whether the animal has disintegrated. As with so much else in life, rotting away is not an all-or-nothing affair. It's a process without any hard dividing line between corpse and no-corpse. Unless we're cremated, of course.
I concede that the question When does a naturally decaying dead animal cease to exist (as an animal)? cannot be given a precise answer. Exactly how many percent of a corpse must remain intact in order for it to be still in existence (as a dead animal)? – I don't know (but I'd say confidently that a mere skeleton is no longer an animal).
Rather there must logically come a point when the last living cell of the body (not bacteria) dies, although detecting it would be beyond today's capacities. We start out as a biological point and fade out to a biological point. The fate of our physical remains is not generally our concern with this question, at least not according to modern thought.

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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 19th, 2018, 2:43 am

A pile of protoplasm is not a human being nor a rabbit nor a lizard. To accept one cell of human flesh, dead, or alive, requires an interview with this almost invisible particle of matter to determine its desires, fears and hopes and even if it could be managed it probably would be less impressive than the current president of the USA although that might be debatable. As I previously indicated, a somewhat substantial mass of flesh, human or otherwise would probably do better as the main component of a sandwich if properly cooked rather than a companion philosopher.

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Barry Sears
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Barry Sears » February 19th, 2018, 6:53 am

I just want to throw a couple of words into the equation here. The may trigger a response with some of these latest posts.
1/ What is the position of a resurrection here, with regards to periods of brain activity.
2/ Corpsism. How is this altered or effected by mummification. Are bones included in this breakdown. What about the relatively new process of organ donation or transplanting?

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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Steve3007 » February 19th, 2018, 7:55 am

Consul wrote:However, questions concerning the beginning or end of existence of an individual object or person are generally fraught with problems of vagueness.
Yes, I agree they are, and I don't think you need to be any kind of dualist for those vagueness problems to exist. It applies to all questions of what is or is not human, what is or is not alive, what is or is not sentient etc. I think this is because definitions like "human", "alive" and "sentient" are all about our purpose of dividing the continua of Nature into classifications that are convenient for us. But we tend to think that this is not the case and that what we're actually doing is describing some objectively existing property of Nature. If we labour under the illusion that there is some objectively existing point when a fertilised embryo becomes a human being (for example) then we always hit intractable arguments between "pro-life" and "pro-choice" camps.
Greta wrote:We start out as a biological point and fade out to a biological point.
Yes, nice point. The single cell (the embryo) from which we start is very different from whatever the last single living cell is when we die, but presumably there must be such a cell, even if it dies only a fraction of a second after the previous one croaked.

Generally, I quite like these kinds of "last one" thoughts. At some point in the future, there will be a last human being alive. There will be a last ever episode of every long running TV show. There will be a last star to ignite into existence. The last day in the life of the Empire State building will arrive. etc.

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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 19th, 2018, 8:20 am

As with a great deal of philosophy we are tossed into a roiled storm of misunderstood definitions wherein key words are not clearly defined and not pre-agreed upon within the current discussion. To me, a living being is a functional protoplasmic machine and when that machine ceases to function it is neither alive nor in existence with memories or emotions of what I believe to be a living creature. It is a hugely delicate construct that must possess the full dynamics of a sustained mechanism. It exists for only the limited time it is in function and when that function ceases it is dead and must be considered non existent. No doubt others will disagree with me on this but I cannot accept any other concept without clear evidence which I have not yet seen.

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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by SimpleGuy » February 19th, 2018, 12:07 pm

Humans are no machines , due to the fact that they are in possession of a social environment. Humans would be a machine if one would isolate a single human individual and separate this individual from all intellectual activities. The single existence of a human , cannot explain his mental, intellectual and social capacities and which describe the character of the individual. Never forget we are computers in an embedded system. A death of a human beeing is always a hole in a social network and not just the switching of an isolated individual.

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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by SimpleGuy » February 19th, 2018, 12:08 pm

We are thinking and socially interconnected we have emotional differences , this is super difficult to describe in a biological context.

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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 19th, 2018, 12:23 pm

Since you cannot specify what a human may be other than a quite complex interaction of mechanical and chemical and electrical dynamics, which specifies a machine, I see no reason to presume a human is not a machine. Many machines operate cooperatively within interactive complexes. That does not disqualify them from being machines.

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Consul
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Consul » February 19th, 2018, 3:57 pm

Greta wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 2:28 am
Rather there must logically come a point when the last living cell of the body (not bacteria) dies, although detecting it would be beyond today's capacities. We start out as a biological point and fade out to a biological point. The fate of our physical remains is not generally our concern with this question, at least not according to modern thought.
What is the case? and What matters to me/us? are two different questions.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Consul
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Consul » February 19th, 2018, 4:50 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 7:55 am
Yes, I agree they are, and I don't think you need to be any kind of dualist for those vagueness problems to exist. It applies to all questions of what is or is not human, what is or is not alive, what is or is not sentient etc. I think this is because definitions like "human", "alive" and "sentient" are all about our purpose of dividing the continua of Nature into classifications that are convenient for us. But we tend to think that this is not the case and that what we're actually doing is describing some objectively existing property of Nature. If we labour under the illusion that there is some objectively existing point when a fertilised embryo becomes a human being (for example) then we always hit intractable arguments between "pro-life" and "pro-choice" camps.
Yes, there is one continuous physicochemical process beginning with fertilization and ending with decomposition.
Questions concerning the temporal boundaries of organisms cannot be given mathematically precise answers.

However—this is off-topic here, but it should be mentioned that—there are philosophers who think that vagueness is a form of ignorance, such that there are precise temporal boundaries of human beings (due to the concept of a human being having a precise extensional boundary), but they are unknown/unknowable.

"The epistemic view does not deny that vagueness is a real and ubiquitous phenomenon: the claim that predicates have sharply bounded classical extensions must not be taken to preclude vagueness by definition. According to the epistemic view, vagueness is type of ignorance. The feature loosely described as having a fuzzy boundary is to be characterised in terms of our ignorance about where the limits of a predicate's extension fall.

(Keefe, Rosanna. Theories of Vagueness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. pp. 62-3)

"Assuming that the classical picture is the correct picture of precise discourse, this means that from a semantic point of view, there is, according to the epistemicist, no difference between vague discourse and precise discourse. But of course there is some difference between the two sorts of discourse. After all, we are tempted by Sorites arguments involving ‘tall’, but not by Sorites arguments involving ‘is greater than or equal to 1800 mm in height’. According to the epistemicist, the difference is an epistemological one: vagueness is a matter of (necessary) ignorance. When F is vague and a is a borderline case of F, the epistemicist thinks that Fa is either true, or false—but we cannot know which. The idea is that, from the logical and semantic points of view, vague predicates are just like precise predicates, but from the epistemological point of view, they are significantly different. Thus, where other theorists of vagueness will need to spend time motivating and explaining their non-classical semantic frameworks, the epistemicist needs to spend time motivating and explaining an epistemological theory which explains why, even though there is a sharp boundary between the things which are (say) bald and the things which are not, we cannot know where this boundary is."

(Smith, Nicholas J. J. Vagueness and Degrees of Truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. p. 35)

See: Sorites Paradox > The Epistemic Theory
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Barry Sears
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Barry Sears » February 20th, 2018, 12:39 am

Here is an attempt at contemplating the origin of the thread. A spiritual experience occurred at an extreme emotional time. After the passing of a loved one a physical phenomenon was experienced. This upon deciphering has lead to greater thought about the concept of the soul and it's journey, with attention to the release from the body at the moment of death.
It is recalled that the passing was followed by an out of body experience, creating a physical action thus raising the thread "what happens to us when we die?"
As this is a sensitive personal issue, I apologise if I have any details wrong or have missed critical information or included too much, my intention is to consider here alternative possibilities with the subject.
As this phenomenon occurred I would like to suggest it is also a possibility that the energy for such a phenomenon came from another source at this emotional point of time. I understand we can be in two different modes at different times. One, we are in a state of receiving and this can be in a magnified extreme, where subtle information may be gathered or interpreted. The other is in a state of transmission. Both states are practiced on many different levels. Other states also exist with respect to the two states here detailed. A synchronistic moment can produce some most incredible spiritual experiences many of which trigger mental problems due to the inability to process and explain the experiences.
If such experiences have continued causing additional physical phenomenon, then it may be considered it is to do with the energy of the one who remains awake and alert, more than likely a combination.
I categorise life here as energy moments, of which thoughts are produced as a result of energy changes. The thought measurable as an energy transfer. Seeing physical things, actions, of which the though of the action is part of the combined energy, producing a responding action. Emotional transfer of feelings producing an unseen energy change. Like cellular data or television signals transferred through space, our own network of subtle information and energy moving and transferring, communicating and linked to the network of our World and environment.

Boom at an emotional moment, an physical energy charge created, requiring deeper thought, an explanation from a more scientific understanding.

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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 20th, 2018, 12:43 am

It helps, in some ways, to understand what the process of knowing consists of. Inquisitive humans are equipped with a nervous system that has been developed by living organisms to stay alive. The brain is encased in a protective enclosure more or less separated from the outside environment to keep it alive and functioning but its only contact with the outside world is through the meager inputs which abstract several aspects of the outside universe to guess at patterns which are threatening and patterns which may be benevolent to the entire organism. We don't know anything. We guess at what might be right and the more sensible ones of us try it out and if it works we assume it might be right. Some of our guesses are very bad and when we try them out we get killed. Eventually, we exchange information about these guesses and build up a body of useful guesses which is called science. But the universe changes all the time so many of these guesses have to be discarded to find new ones. Science advance most when we discover we are wrong and are forced to make better guesses. Religion made a lot of very entertaining guesses long ago and a good many people are so fond of these guesses that they hang on to them even to the point of getting killed. So it goes.

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Greta
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Greta » February 21st, 2018, 3:07 am

Consul wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 3:57 pm
Greta wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 2:28 am
Rather there must logically come a point when the last living cell of the body (not bacteria) dies, although detecting it would be beyond today's capacities. We start out as a biological point and fade out to a biological point. The fate of our physical remains is not generally our concern with this question, at least not according to modern thought.
What is the case? and What matters to me/us? are two different questions.
The former is easy and best answered by biologists. The latter is the burning question that more concerns philosophy due to its subjective nature.

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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 21st, 2018, 3:59 am

I will become concerned over the rationality and imagination of that last surviving cell when I read an autobiography or even a poem or interview by that last flicker of life. As a student at Stuyvesant High School at the end of the 1930's in the course of Abraham Penzer's Biology Shop elective I met quite a few amoebas and paramecia who were both fascinating and agile but their secret language evaded me totally. I am still embroiled in puzzling my way through Finnish here in Helsinki, now trying to freeze all its inhabitants to death despite the current most popular global warming. Whatever conversation these vital microcreatures might have been gossiping in none of them revealed even the time of day to me.

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