David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 20 (1-4):403 – 417 (1977)
An exposition of Spinoza's views of the cause and cure of death. He holds death to be disruption of mind/body which need not involve becoming a corpse; amnesia counts. It follows that his criterion of personal identity includes memory, so Spinozistic immortality is impersonal. The cause of death is always something external, for nothing can destroy itself. (This principle, however, is not universally true; Spinoza was led to it by mistaken physics.) Suicide is irrational. Fear of death is to be overcome by realization that since adequate ideas are eternal, to the extent that they consitute our minds we are eternal also. (But if so, isn't suicide rational after all? And since language depends on memory, the eternal understanding of adequate ideas is non-linguistic and non-symbolic; what then can it be?).
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