Language Essay

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Mortal question by Thomas Nagel Death is the ending of life. It encompasses ending vital processes needed to sustain a life of an organism. Death is delineated as a state, process of extinction or events that transpire when one dies. Different philosophers have coined several theories and points of view regarding different aspects of death such as permanence, criteria, value and existence among others. According to Thomas Nagel, death “…is the equivocal and permanent end of human existence…” (Nagel, 1). Nagel substantiates his theory with several key arguments. One of the principal arguments Nagel expresses is ‘the three problems an individual encounters in establishing the value of death’ and it is important to focus on this argument in the bid to answer the mortal question. The first problem is considering whether it is harmful to deprive of potential goods. Nagel contends that an individual has to have an experience or knowledge of a phenomenon for it to qualify as harmful. This speaks volumes concerning the element of time. He denotes that moral condition of a person when death is experienced matters. Nagel point of contention is that historical information must be brought to light before assessing phenomena affecting a person. For example, damage, deprivation and deterioration make experiential state absolutely inconsequential (Pape, 24). Second problem is linking an alleged death misfortune to a certain subject. In this case, Nagel point out the main requirement for attaching temporal component to particular occurrences as elementary changes of ideas of significant human value. It implies that the wrong committed against a person need to be conditionally assigned to a certain entity. The last problem is reconciling the perception regarding “...posthumous and pre-natal non-existence” (Nagel, 6). Reconciliation of perceptions means that the time of

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