Nov 14, 2014

Our Next Department Visiting Speaker November 14

Dr. Stephan Blatti, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Memphis, will be our next department visiting speaker, on Friday, November 14, 1:30-3:30 PM, in McCain Hall 185. Dr. Blatti's talk is titled "The Dying Animal." Abstract Each of us—according to the view known as “animalism”—is one and the same thing as a primate of the species Homo sapiens. Each of us—according to a claim known as the “termination thesis”—will cease to exist when we die. Animalists are divided over what to say about the termination thesis: “organic animalists” insist that ordinarily we cease to exist when we die, while “somatic animalists” claim that we can survive our deaths. This intramural dispute is notable because it stems from a more basic rift between competing conceptions of the fundamental nature of biological organisms. Both of these conceptions come in for criticism in this paper. On the one hand, I will defend the termination thesis against the somaticist’s criticisms of it, while on the other hand, I will show why the organicist’s support for that thesis is inadequate. I will then outline a novel formulation of the animalist position—a version of the organicist view—that is up to the task of supporting the termination thesis. Along the way, I’ll show how the truth of the termination thesis is integral to the nature of mortal harm. We hope to see you there!

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