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Thread: Is death objective ?

  1. #1 Is death objective ? 
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    Any thoughts, or opinions. I believe death is objective because it can happen without a human around to percieve it. Evidence of this is when a human being dies, and 3 days later is finally discovered, and a Doctor determines the person infact has been dead for 3 days. I believe from this we can subjectively view death as objective.


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  3. #2  
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    like if a tree falls down a forest and no one is around does it make a sound?

    but yeh if you die it doesn't matter what forest you're in. you are still deader than a dead thing.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    any particular reason why death would not be an objective fact ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  5. #4  
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    Sometimes we seek to deny death even as we kill. Like how firing squads would get only a few live bullets between them, so exactly who did the killing would be forever unknown. Or how we prefer the meat industry do it cheap but don't tell us what that means. In one of the US wars we had special plow fronts mounted on tanks, so we could pin Iraqis in sand trenches and bury them alive - no prisoners or corpses to handle and no official kill count. It seems our object often is to not know we've killed.
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  6. #5  
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    Perhaps those are examples of the objectification of murder, not death.
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  7. #6  
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    Well, people pass away. Or they're late ...very, very late.

    I've wondered about Schrodinger's cat though, and what it means to those who die apart from society. Like, shipwreck victims, or (practically) all the guys serving life sentence who have no outside friend or family contact. Without oversight, the prison system could simply disappear them (as in Auschwitz) and we wouldn't know or care.

    My personal belief is that death (and conditions of death, and life) is not a fact, objective or otherwise, to the deceased. That can really rock the moral boat, but there are good solutions following.
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  8. #7  
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    If a dead fish is on the grown does that dead fish not exist ?
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by AeDeAeMn0886
    If a dead fish is on the grown does that dead fish not exist ?
    surely you understand the difference between death and existence ?
    it's not because someone dies that his/her body disappears in thin air ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  10. #9  
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    No, I dont surely understand the difference between death and existence because Ive never been dead.
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  11. #10  
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    I think, AeDeAeMn0886, you do understand the difference between death and existence, and you're really wondering about the difference between subjective and objective. When the fish dies, is there subjective death existence/non-existence for the fish? Right?
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  12. #11  
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    It's an inevitable fact. Everthing is objective depending on how you look at it. I mean believers in a faith will say it is not death. So their objective on death will be different.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I think, AeDeAeMn0886, you do understand the difference between death and existence, and you're really wondering about the difference between subjective and objective. When the fish dies, is there subjective death existence/non-existence for the fish? Right?
    Well yes that is what Im getting at, as we know the death of anything is an objective fact in the universe, but there again are defenition of the universe is subjective itself, and could be totally misleading to our perception of whats actually there. Our subjective view of death in ourselves, and whether it exists at all, is a question that has tried to be answered since the beginning of man, but doubtfully ever will, none the less it causes alot of curiousity in my questioning, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
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  14. #13  
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    Another thing I want to point out is that death's objectivity is uknown to us as humans, because everything we percieve is subjective. Trying to percieve the objective is in a sense, the basis of what science is all about. My intention in this post, was to further examine the effect of death in the universe, and ponder it, with as much human perception as possible. A common argument in religion is God created the universe, so if God created us we are just Gods perception, and therefore a subjective fact. Objective in my view means, something that is there, but uknown, which I wonder if thats possible ?
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  15. #14  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    on the other hand, the physical death of a body is well-known to coroners, funeral directors and grieving families, and as such can be called objective
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  16. #15  
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    The physical death of a body is well-known subjectively to people working at the coroner, funeral directors, and grieving families. Objectivity of a dead body pertains to the dead body that is not percieved by us as humans, yet the existence of the dead body still remains. I guess even still one could grasp at straws and make the argument that any human, that is dead, even if not percieved by any body directly, affects people through subtle means that are so small they are not percieved by our conscious mind, but such arguments are hard to make, and I dont want to attempt to make them.
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  17. #16  
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    I think that there needs to be some understanding here as to what is objective and what is subjective. This matter has been raised already, but not satisfied. I think it would be folly to confused existence and conscious perception as inseparable. There seems to be an attitude, or position, that some people tend to believe that assumes consciousness and reality are completely intertwined. And I would agree on a fundamental level, but the attitude goes on to assume that without any conscious being in the universe -whatsoever- the universe would simply not exist. I say this is backwards, that the Universe is not bound to whether or not anyone is out there / in there paying attention, but rather the opposite - that attention is permitted provided there is something to pay attention to; "If a tree falls" and the like...

    A better example, and maybe more to the point, would be the simple fact that before I was born (Myself being an organic unit of conscious perception of the Universe) there was thirteen-and-a-half-billion year history to the Universe. In other words, the Universe did not, and does not, begin and end with whether or not I take notice. This is observable in several ways, but two are more clear than others: 1) There exist things, like various structures, trees, and celestial bodies that are much older than I am. 2) A baby is born, and I am certain my existence did not begin at it's birth but rather my own.

    So, with that said It should be obvious to anyone that if a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, it does indeed make a sound. And further more, if a person died 3 days ago, they did indeed die whether or not anyone was there to bare witness.

    So the question: Is death Objective?

    ...Well, what do you mean by death exactly?

    Surely the actual experience of death is subjective to the person who is dying / dead. Objectively, I can sit and watch a person in a hospital bed transition from a living being to an organic cluster of non-functioning systems, but then again, what died exactly? It's known that when an organism "dies", there are many microorganisms that begin to play their part in the break down of organic matter and dead tissue. Then there are animals that can hypothetically come and feed off this matter, leaving what they didn't use as waste, which can be home or food to bacteria, mold, or what-have-you, plant life, etc etc. So really, nothing physically dies, there is a constant transfer of matter and energy. This is no secret, and there is no real physical death. Besides, all you are is a collection of organic systems. Physical death of a particular organism (like a person) can be defined as a failure of these systems to function collectively or at all - as an organism. So you can't argue that watching someone or something die is an objective observation or experience because it simply isn't accurate to say that anything has truly ceased to be, apart from a vague connectiveness of systems operating toward some goal.

    I feel that the paramount priority of all life is to reproduce itself. And reproduction is something that exists, and persists, only because life-forms are temporary. If an organism could live in a general state of health for an infinite amount of time, there would be no need for it to ever reproduce (so long as it's safety is somehow guaranteed). So in a way, reproduction is nature's way of adapting to the inevitability of death. But this only a physical death. We, as thinking, pondering, inquisitive creatures aren't so concerned with what happens to our bodies (bury it, burn it, whatever) but what happens to that which we hold sacred about our very being: our selves. So I think when we talk about death, as human beings, what we really mean is:

    What happens to my SELF at physical death; Is this EXPERIENCE something that ceases to be.

    This is a difficult one for us to tackle because every single person you've ever known, or will know, including yourself, will suffer a physical death. We naturally want to believe that our sense of experience continues after physical death, but we also have a hard time really gripping onto it and living like it's a truism. After all, if we really believed that something went on long after our bodies are swept away into the cosmos from whence they came we would not fear death - but we do, almost obsessively.

    So is this type of death something that can be perceived objectively, by a third party? Hard to say because we don't know what it would be like... Maybe this is the core problem in trying to collect evidence for an afterlife. I think of the movie Flatliners, where subjective experience is the only way to really find out... but then again, as Kevin Bacon's character points out in the film, it's still only a subjective experience.

    So maybe the real question then becomes: Does physical death yield a change in conscious existence and if it does then why?
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