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The Experience of Illness and the Meaning of Death

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Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU,volume 72)

Abstract

It is common sense to say of human beings that they die because they fall ill; and, as a matter of fact, virtually all deaths have an identifiable pathological event as their direct or remote determining cause. However, death is not merely a hypothetical event, rather it is our most certain possibility, inherent in human nature: human beings do not just happen to die, but necessarily do so. Therefore, it is clear that, on reflection, our ordinary assumption must be reversed: Morbidity is in fact parasitic on mortality, and it is because we shall eventually die that we also fall ill. We could also say that death is the illness of illnesses, the illness of those who are in good health.’ The fragility of our bodily condition is such that health, as the complete absence of all disease, is but a regulative idea: As it is sometimes put, there are no healthy individuals, only yet undiagnosed patients

1 Cf. V. Jankélévitch, Penser la mort?, Éditions Liana Levi, Paris 1994.

Keywords

  • Natural Death
  • Monash Bioethic Review
  • Civil Condition
  • Good Death
  • Existential Meaning

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© 2001 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Reichlin, M. (2001). The Experience of Illness and the Meaning of Death. In: Tymieniecka, AT., Agazzi, E. (eds) Life Interpretation and the Sense of Illness within the Human Condition. Analecta Husserliana, vol 72. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-010-0780-1_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-010-0780-1_6

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht

  • Print ISBN: 978-94-010-3839-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-010-0780-1

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