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Chapter 7 - Living and Dying

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 January 2022

Steven Luper
Affiliation:
Trinity University, Texas
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Summary

Viability is a capacity an organism’s constituents have – the ability to engage in various such as nutrition in an integrated way. It is what makes things compose an organism and what makes an organism alive. To die is to lose that capacity. So things come alive by coming to be organisms, and they die when they cease to be organisms. But in theory an object that dies while it is an organism might later be brought back to life. Since dying is the loss of viability, and nothing is viable while nonexistent, any object that ceases to exist while it is alive dies. Nor may anything be a corpse while it is still an organism. Yet objects that die while they are organisms may continue to exist – they may become corpses. So the dead may exist. Personhood is a phase objects go through while they are organisms that can think. When you and I use the term “I,” we refer to an object that is currently both an organism and a person, but the property of being a person is contingent to organisms, and the property of being an organism is contingent to us.

Type
Chapter
Information
Mortal Objects
Identity and Persistence through Life and Death
, pp. 110 - 127
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Living and Dying
  • Steven Luper, Trinity University, Texas
  • Book: Mortal Objects
  • Online publication: 27 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108981316.008
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Living and Dying
  • Steven Luper, Trinity University, Texas
  • Book: Mortal Objects
  • Online publication: 27 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108981316.008
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Living and Dying
  • Steven Luper, Trinity University, Texas
  • Book: Mortal Objects
  • Online publication: 27 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108981316.008
Available formats
×