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By Fred Feldman

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Additional resources for Confrontations with the Reaper: A Philosophical Study of the Nature and Value of Death

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Death, for them, must be permanent. Thus, it appears that the conventioneers do not have their eyes on the same target. Some are trying to formulate a criterion for one concept of death, and others are tying to formulate a criterion for some other concept of death. Perhaps some are trying to formulate a criterion even though they don't yet have any clear concept of death in mind. This sort of confusion reveals one way in which the analytical project might have priority over the criterial project.

Lovelock in his book Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. The biosphere is the part of the Earth that contains living stuff—roughly the part starting at the bottom of the topsoil and rising to the lower part of the atmosphere. The biosphere also contains the seas, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Gaians claim to believe that the biosphere is alive. Perhaps they are using 'alive' metaphorically. Perhaps all they mean is that the biosphere is in interesting ways like a living thing. In this case, their claim seems uncontroversial.

As we have already noted, lots of living things are unable to reproduce. In some cases, infertility is only temporary, but in other cases it is permanent and lifelong. Among ants and bees, for example, many living individuals are permanently sterile. The same holds true for certain hybrids, such as mules. Obviously, if a thing can't produce offspring at all, then it surely cannot produce offspring manifesting genetic variations from itself. Thus, each conjunct of the the proposed analysis of life is clearly too narrow, and the analysis itself fails.

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