Death - Video
By Shelly Kagan
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(PHIL 176) There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact? This course will examine a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality. The possibility that death may not actually be the end is considered. Are we, in some sense, immortal? Would immortality be desirable? Also a clearer notion of what it is to die is examined. What does it mean to say that a person has died? What kind of fact is that? And, finally, different attitudes to death are evaluated. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is suicide morally permissible? Is it rational? How should the knowledge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life? This class was recorded in Spring 2007.
|1||Video01 - Course introduction||Professor Kagan introduces the course and the material that will be covered during the semester.||12/6/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|2||Video02 - The nature of persons: dualism vs. physicalism||Professor Kagan discusses the two main positions with regard to the question, "What is a person?"||12/6/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|3||Video03 - Arguments for the existence of the soul, Part I||The lecture focuses on arguments that might be offered as proof for the existence of the soul.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|4||Video04 - Introduction to Plato's Phaedo; Arguments for the existence of the soul, Part II||After a brief introduction to Plato's Phaedo, more arguments are offered in this lecture in defense of the existence of an immaterial soul.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|5||Video05 - Arguments for the existence of the soul, Part III: Free will and near-death experiences||Professor Kagan discusses in detail the argument of free will as proof for the existence of an immaterial soul.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|6||Video06 - Arguments for the existence of the soul, Part IV; Plato, Part I||The lecture begins with a continued discussion of the Cartesian argument and its weaknesses. The lecture then turns to Plato's metaphysical views in the context of his work, Phaedo.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|7||Video07 - Plato, Part II: Arguments for the immortality of the soul||The discussion of Plato's Phaedo continues, presenting more arguments for the existence and immortality of the soul.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|8||Video08 - Plato, Part III: Arguments for the immortality of the soul (cont.)||The lecture focuses exclusively on one argument for the immortality of the soul from Plato's Phaedo, namely, "the argument from simplicity."||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|9||Video09 - Plato, Part IV: Arguments for the immortality of the soul (cont.)||Professor Kagan elaborates on the "argument from simplicity" and discusses in detail Plato's claims that the soul is simple, changeless and therefore indestructible.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|10||Video10 - Personal identity, Part I: Identity across space and time and the soul theory||The lecture focuses on the question of the metaphysical key to personal identity. What does it mean for a person that presently exists to be the very same person in the future?||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|11||Video11 - Personal identity, Part II: The body theory and the personality theory||Two more views regarding the metaphysical key to personal identity are discussed: the body view and the personality view.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|12||Video12 - Personal identity, Part III: Objections to the personality theory||The lecture focuses on the problems directly related to the personality theory as key to personal identity.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|13||Video13 - Personal identity, Part IV; What matters?||The personality theory is revised to state that the key to personal identity is having the same personality provided that there is no branching, that is, provided there is no transfer or duplication of the same personality from one body to another.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|14||Video14 - What matters (cont.); The nature of death, Part I||The suggestion is made that what matters in survival is the future existence of someone with a personality similar to one's own. Professor Kagan then turns to the question, "what is it to die?".||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|15||Video15 - The nature of death (cont.); Believing you will die||The lecture explores the question of the state of being dead. Even though the most logical claim seems to be that when a person stops P-functioning he or she is dead, a more careful consideration must allow for exceptions.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|16||Video16 - Dying alone; The badness of death, Part I||Professor Kagan puts forward the claim that Tolstoy's character Ivan Ilych is quite the typical man in terms of his views on mortality.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|17||Video17 - The badness of death, Part II: The deprivation account||This lecture continues to explore the issue of why death may be bad. According to the deprivation account, what is bad about death is the fact that because one ceases to exist, one becomes deprived of the good things in life.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|18||Video18 - The badness of death, Part III; Immortality, Part I||The discussion of the badness of death continues by asking whether it is bad that we do not exist before our birth.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|19||Video19 - Immortality Part II; The value of life, Part I||The lecture begins with further exploration of the question of whether it is desirable to live forever under the right circumstances, and then turns to consideration of some alternative theories of the nature of well-being. What makes a life worth livin||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|20||Video20 - The value of life, Part II; Other bad aspects of death, Part I||Lecture 20 continues the discussion of the value of life. It considers the neutral container theory, which holds that the value of life is simply a function of its contents, both pleasant and painful.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|21||Video21 - Other bad aspects of death, Part II||Further bad aspects of death are considered, including ubiquity, or the fact that death may occur at any time and strike anyone. Professor Kagan invites students to contemplate the possibility of death-free time periods, vacation spots, and activities.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|22||Video22 - Fear of death||Professor Kagan explores the issue of how thinking about death may influence the way we live. Fear as an emotional response to death is discussed as well as whether it is appropriate and under what conditions.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|23||Video23 - How to live given the certainty of death||In this lecture, Professor Kagan invites students to pose the question of how one should live life knowing that it will certainly end in death.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|24||Video24 - Suicide, Part I: The rationality of suicide||This is the first of a series of lectures on suicide. Two very distinct contexts are presented in which the subject can be further explored.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|25||Video25 - Suicide, Part II: Deciding under uncertainty||The discussion of suicide continues. A few more cases are introduced to consider circumstances under which it might be rational to end one's life, and more graphs are drawn that show relevant variations in the quality of one's life.||12/7/2011||Free||View in iTunes|
|26||Video26 - Suicide, Part III: The morality of suicide and course conclusion||The lecture begins by examining the consequences a suicide has on both the person committing it and those around this person.||3/5/2012||Free||View in iTunes|
A Real Eye-Opener
An incredible class that truly pushes oneself to approach the nature of death and the meaning that life can have in not just a different perspective but also in the perspectives of many others before us and with us. This class also helped me in a difficult time and I am really glad to have taken it in its entirety. I definitely recommend this class to anyone brave enough to revolutionize their thinking on the matter and come to cherish their existence.
Find a different professor
The professor giving the lecture on Plato and the soul wasted the time of his students and at their great expense.
Wow does this man like to grace his reasoning across a stage assuming you’re still listening. He is obviously manically delighted by his own thoughts, the kind of man who could exist alone in a room as long as he could hear his own voice.
He’s exhausting. What’s worse is he thinks he’s being profound. And you may foolishly mistake his energy for an academic fervor towards the gems of truth. When his conclusions arrive, however, you’re left holding a pebble. I’d just stick it in your ear to mute this inflated little man.