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Shelly Kagan on Philosophy of Life and Death

7 May 2009 (updated 27 March 2020)

I’ve begun watching Shelly Kagan’s lectures on the “Philosophy of Life and Death” via Academic Earth, which links to thousands of video lectures from the world’s top scholars. In this set of lectures, Shelly argues for the following perspective:

“I’m going to try to convince you that there is no soul. Immortality would not be a good thing. Fear of death isn’t actually an appropriate response to death. Suicide, under certain circumstances, might be rationally and morally justified.”

My initial reaction to his perspective is that I’ll probably disagree with his definition of “soul” and “immortality.” But I’ll probably agree with his assessment of these matters, given his definitions. If you watch the video, just watch the beginning – about a third of the way through the lecture, he moves on to class business matters.

Here are my thoughts on Shelly’s second lecture.

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