Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Would you consider this death?

  1. Jan 14, 2008 #1
    Say that you were swapped back to the past, be it yesterday or 10 years ago, without having any memory of having lived in the future. Would you consider this some sort of death? After all, your current self would fall out of existence.

    Whatever is your stance on this, it brings an interesting point; it could be said that we die at every instant since what we once were is no more, that is our current self is constantly changing.

    Do you think this is tenable or not? Give out your reasons.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2008 #2
    Naw. Disappearance is not death, neither is amnesia. We change all the time, along with everything else. Call these changes "death" obscures the meaning of the word with no obvious benefit other than poetic.
  4. Jan 14, 2008 #3
    But this is philosophy. In its terms, death is not bound to its biological definition.
  5. Jan 14, 2008 #4
    Alright then, but state your definition if you want to use a different one.
  6. Jan 14, 2008 #5
    OP: What do you define as being 'alive' (if it exists)? :wink:
  7. Jan 14, 2008 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Perhaps to other people, but to you you're still goin' strong.
  8. Jan 14, 2008 #7
    I don't know who exactly you're defining as "you" here. The biological entity is certainly the same, but can the same be said about its mind? After all, aren't the experiences you have accumulated consist an important part of who you are at the present moment?
  9. Jan 14, 2008 #8
    That's a good point. In your hypothetical situation, does your actions upon other people, good or bad, or the mere knowlegde that others have of your being, magically disappear (just potentially changing the life of many people), or remain?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  10. Jan 14, 2008 #9
    I would say it is irrelevant, because all that counts here is your own perception of yourself and the world.
  11. Jan 15, 2008 #10
    Everything always changes, including ourselves.. I think on a fundamental level of thought you could say that you are never the same person in any instance of time, but seeing as people don't /change/ all that much from one instance to another, physically, using the word 'dead' usually implies something much more significant has happened to the person or the person has done.

    I guess all change is actually equal(in the sense that the whole is no longer what it was the moment before), but we value that change differently personally, maybe even just a cell moving in our body has the same fundamental value as us getting hit by a car and getting severe wounds.
    But if that's the case then we might as well just say "everything changes."

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook