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Death and the Afterlife

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Suppose you knew that, though you yourself would live your life to its natural end, the earth and all its inhabitants would be destroyed thirty days after your death. To what extent would you remain committed to your current projects and plans? Would scientists still search for a cure for cancer? Would couples still want children?

In Death and the Afterlife, philosopher S
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 7th 2013 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  116 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found Scheffler’s ideas quite brilliant and original. Even for those who don’t believe in a traditional afterlife – our self continuing to live in the form of a surviving soul – the belief in “afterlife” is necessary to lead a meaningful life. Afterlife in this sense means that the rest of humanity will continue to live after our own death. Sheffler demonstrates his point by proposing two thought experiments (one: imagine the entire humanity perishing shortly after your own death; two: imagine ...more
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Brilliant, thought provoking, and original. What I assumed would be a depressing venture into death turned into a mind opening look into new ideas and our own human reaction towards death and the afterlife.
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
My favourite part of this book was the explanation of why people play games (or avoid them, the reason is could be the same, apparently):
Games are "self-contained bubbles of significance" :)

Much of the discussion concerns the observation that the idea of the human race going extinct after our death causes us more concern than our own death. There is much discussion about how the knowledge of an inevitable extinction soon after one's own death would cause all kind of troubles wi
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
An interesting read. Scheffler puts forward a view that I had not previously considered. His connection between value and death draws on concepts and ideas that we do not consciously contemplate in our every day lives.
Elizabeth  Chang
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars, 2018, reviews, school
Certainly an interesting take on meaning in life and the afterlife. Made me think of the afterlife in a completely different light!
Duncan McLaren
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Scheffler argues elegantly that for our lives, projects and commitments to matter, we rely on the continuation of humanity, and indeed on the flourishing of society. He does this without appeals to relatedness or strictly communitarian emotions, and in ways that are entirely immune to Parfit's 'non-identity problem'. Scheffler concludes that perhaps we should care about humanity's survival rather more than we appear to.

Scheffler reaches his conclusions by way of thought-experiments about how we
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
The afterlife referenced in the title is not the afterlife as popularly construed. Rather, by the term "afterlife," the author, philosopher Samuel Scheffler, refers to the idea that after an individual dies, human life for the rest of the species continues.

Scheffler invites his audience to consider two doomsday scenarios. (1) Let an individual suppose that 30 days after she or he dies, the entire human population is destroyed in a great cataclysm. (2) Let us suppose that the premise
Ross Mckinney
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
If I could have rated this 3.5 stars, I would have. The question was fascinating - how would we as individuals react if there there was no future for the human species - no afterlife of the species, not us. Our death is normal, but beyond us the future of the species is limited either by a known catastrophe, or sterility (a la "Children of Man"). The format is a lecture by Samuel
Scheffler, then several responses, then Scheffler's response to the respondents. The lecture itself is brilliant - co
Pablo Stafforini
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
A very disappointing read. Most of what the author says is either trivial or unoriginal, and the rest is often demonstrably false. As just one example of the latter, consider Scheffler's claim that, from the fact that we would feel distressed at the prospect of humanity's becoming extinct, it is possible to conclude that we in fact value things other than experiences. This is a non sequitur, as authors discussing Epicurus' related arguments have long noted (see e.g. John Broome's 'Goodness is reducible t ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Scheffler provides some very thought-provoking reflections in his lectures on the relationship between our values, death and the extinction of the human race. It's excellent to see these sorts of questions being discussed in contemporary anglophone philosophy.

Scheffler's reflections, as I said, are thought provoking, but they are also often quite limited in depth and rigor, instead being wide-ranging and speculative. On the upside, the responses to Scheffler are all excellent and bring the clai
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
The proposition raised in this book did not seem that significant. The book raises several thought experiments: would (how would) life be worth living if all humanity were going to end soon after our own death; to what extent is fear of death related to our worry about what happens after; is the fear of the extinction of humanity greater than the fear of our own death? But, upon reflection, these questions do not appear to have any answers (not just that Scheffler and his respondents do not answ ...more
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is not what you think it is about. Scheffler could care less what happens to us after we die. This book is about the lives of those around us and how our death will affect them. Just as a thought experiment, think how you would go out of your way not to commit suicide in front of someone you love. You might kill yourself three blocks away but you wouldn't dream of doing it in front of them. Why should it matter? You are dead either way. Interesting read.
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: project_2015

I've completed this book…and with what results?
(1) I have a much richer grounding in the
distinction "value."
(2) I have access to "possibility" regarding the
"conservative view."
(3) I am more at peace with my personal
temporality…my own death.
(4) I am present to the profound privilege of
being alive.
(5) I've added over 100 books to my
"want to read" list.
This is a well-written and fascinating book—Read it!

Jennings Peeler
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: project_2015

I've completed this book…and with what results?
(1) I have a much richer grounding in the
distinction "value."
(2) I have access to "possibility" regarding the
"conservative view."
(3) I am more at peace with my personal
temporality…my own death.
(4) I am present to the profound privilege of
being alive.
(5) I've added over 100 books to my
"want to read" list.
This is a well-written and fascinating book—Read it!
Oct 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Although I feel like the entire point could have been crystallized down to about forty pages, it was interesting and, from what I remember of the few philosophy classes I took, very accessibly written.
Russell Warfield
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thrillingly original. Easy to read, hard to swallow, both eerily terrifying and truly inspiring. Without hyperbole, this made me think very differently about myself and humans in general. Brilliant stuff, and convincing. Really excellent philosophy.
Will Corvin
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
An interesting theory on the importance that human beings place on future generations. Not bulletproof, but an interesting ideas that will get the reader to think about what is truly valuable
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent book, one that caused me ... is still causing me ... to think deeply about things I once took for granted.
Kyle Matson
rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2019
Maxwell Canty-Hilchey
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Nicholas West
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Cliff Landesman
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Sep 07, 2014
Jordan Sanderson
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Jul 06, 2015
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