, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 83–103 | Cite as

How the Dead Live

  • Niall ConnollyEmail author


This paper maintains (following Yougrau 1987; 2000 and Hinchliff 1996) that the dead and other former existents count as examples of non-existent objects. If the dead number among the things there are, a further question arises: what is it to be dead—how should the state of being dead be characterised? It is argued that this state should be characterised negatively: the dead are not persons, philosophers etc. They lack any of the (intrinsic) qualities they had while they lived. The only facts involving the dead are facts about the relations they stand in—including the relations they bear to the qualities they formerly instantiated, and the intentional relations they stand in to us. Given an appropriate conception of qualities the dead can be said to be quality-less objects: bare particulars. The ‘Bare Particular Theory’ of individuals, it is argued, is coherent if and only if it concedes that the bare particulars it allows for don’t exist. The account of the dead and other former existents as bare particulars does justice to the misfortune of death, and points the way to a general theory of nonexistent objects.


Metaphysics Death Presentism Non-existence Bare particulars 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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