Synthese

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Is Romeo dead? On the persistence of organisms

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Abstract

According to a prominent view of organism persistence (“vitalicism”), organisms cease to exist at death. According to a rival view (“somaticism”), organisms can continue to exist as dead organisms. Most of the arguments in favor of the latter view rely on linguistic and common sense intuitions. I propose a new argument for somaticism by appealing to two other sources that have thus far not figured in the debate: the concept of naturalness, and biological descriptions of organisms, in particular in ethology and ecology. I show that if we hone in on the relevant notion of naturalness, we can show that organisms can (and often do) continue to instantiate the natural property being an organism after death.

Keywords

Organisms Death Persistence Naturalness Biology 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBilkent UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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