Advertisement

Thinking About Last Things: Death, Finitude, and Meaning

  • Ana Honnacker
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Humanism and Atheism book series (SHA)

Abstract

Pragmatic humanism regards mortality as an essential characteristic of human beings. It is sensitive to the existential challenges and to our need for comfort that arises in the face of life’s contingencies. However, the humanist position rejects any attempts to overcome or deny death. Instead, it suggests defying and resisting the threat of nihilism by way of acknowledging human finitude. While keeping a sense for the tragic, the human ability to create meaningful lives is underlined and encouraged.

Keywords

Death Finitude Meaning Immortality Nihilism Transhumanism 

References

  1. Blum, Deborah. 2007. Ghost Hunters. The Victorians and the Hunt for Proof of Life After Death. London: Arrow Books.Google Scholar
  2. Christina, Greta. 2014. Comforting Thoughts About Death that Have Nothing to Do with God. Durham: Pitchstone Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Cudworth, Erika, and Stephen Hobden. 2011. Posthuman International Relations. Complexity, Ecologism and Global Politics. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  4. Gavin, William J. 2010. Pragmatism and Death: Method Vs. Metaphor, Tragedy Vs. The Will to Believe. In 100 Years of Pragmatism. William James’ Revolutionary Philosophy, ed. John J. Stuhr, 81–95. Bloomington et al.: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Gray, John. 2007. Straw Dogs. Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  6. Harari, Yuval Noah. 2017. Homo Deus. A Brief History of Tomorrow. London: Vintage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. James, William. 1975 [1907]. Pragmatism. A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking. The Works of William James, vol. 1. Ed. Fredson Bowers and Ignas K. Skrupskelis. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 1979 [1895]. Is Life Worth Living?. In The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy. The Works of William James, ed. Frederick H. Burckhardt, Fredson Bowers, and Ignas K. Skrupskelis, vol. 6, 34–56. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1982 [1891]. Human Immortality. In Essays in Religion and Morality. The Works of William James, ed. Frederick H. Burckhardt, Fredson Bowers, and Ignas K. Skrupskelis, vol. 11, 77–101. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1985 [1902]. The Varieties of Religious Experience. The Works of William James, vol. 12. Ed. Frederick H. Burckhardt, Fredson Bowers, and Ignas K. Skrupskelis. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2007 [1890]. The Principles of Psychology, vol. 2. New York: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Johnston, Mark. 2010. Surviving Death. Princeton/Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kolenda, Konstantin. 1976. Religion Without God. Buffalo: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  14. Livingston, Alexander. 2016. Damn Great Empires! William James and the Politics of Pragmatism. New York: Oxford University.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Nagel, Thomas. 1970. Death. Noûs 4 (1): 73–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pihlström, Sami. 2008. The Trail of the Human Serpent Is Over Everything. Jamesian Perspectives on Mind, World, and Religion. Lanham et al.: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 2016. Death and Finitude. Toward a Pragmatic Transcendental Anthropology of Human Limits and Mortality. Lanham et al.: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  18. Schiller, F.C.S. 1903a [1903]. The Ethical Basis of Metaphysics. In Humanism. Philosophical Essays, 1–17. London: Macmillan and Co.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 1903b [1897]. The Ethical Significance of Immortality. In Humanism. Philosophical Essays, 250–265. London: Macmillan and Co.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 1903c [1900]. Philosophy and the Scientific Investigation of a Future Life. In Humanism. Philosophical Essays, 266–289. London: Macmillan and Co.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 1903d [1901]. The Desire for Immortality. In Humanism. Philosophical Essays, 228–249. London: Macmillan and Co.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Honnacker
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute for Philosophy HannoverHannoverGermany

Personalised recommendations