On being (not quite) dead with Derrida

Bob Plant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

If mortality is the most important fact about us, then it is reasonable to think that fear of death is our most fundamental fear. Indeed, while philosophers continue to disagree about whether it is rational to fear death, they tend to assume that fear is the most common, natural response our mortality provokes. I neither want to deny the reality of this fear nor evaluate its rationality. Rather, drawing on Derrida’s remarks on ‘quasi-death’, I will argue that (1) fearful or not, death pervades everyday life; (2) imagining one’s own death, and thereby remaining semi-present as a spectral observer, is not (as some allege) inherently misleading; and (3) taking these imaginings seriously highlights another response we have toward our own mortality that is at least as significant as fear; namely, prospective, self-directed grief.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-338
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophy & Social Criticism
Volume42
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Fingerprint

anxiety
death
mortality
grief
rationality
everyday life
Jacques Derrida
present
Mortality
Imagining

Keywords

  • fear
  • immortality
  • quasi-death
  • prospective grief
  • ghost

Cite this

On being (not quite) dead with Derrida. / Plant, Bob.

In: Philosophy & Social Criticism, Vol. 42, No. 3, 01.03.2016, p. 320-338.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Plant, Bob. / On being (not quite) dead with Derrida. In: Philosophy & Social Criticism. 2016 ; Vol. 42, No. 3. pp. 320-338.
@article{75744158e8284823948ad529e137a766,
title = "On being (not quite) dead with Derrida",
abstract = "If mortality is the most important fact about us, then it is reasonable to think that fear of death is our most fundamental fear. Indeed, while philosophers continue to disagree about whether it is rational to fear death, they tend to assume that fear is the most common, natural response our mortality provokes. I neither want to deny the reality of this fear nor evaluate its rationality. Rather, drawing on Derrida’s remarks on ‘quasi-death’, I will argue that (1) fearful or not, death pervades everyday life; (2) imagining one’s own death, and thereby remaining semi-present as a spectral observer, is not (as some allege) inherently misleading; and (3) taking these imaginings seriously highlights another response we have toward our own mortality that is at least as significant as fear; namely, prospective, self-directed grief.",
keywords = "fear, immortality, quasi-death, prospective grief, ghost",
author = "Bob Plant",
note = "Thanks to Gerry Hough for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article.",
year = "2016",
month = "3",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0191453715593596",
language = "English",
volume = "42",
pages = "320--338",
journal = "Philosophy & Social Criticism",
issn = "0191-4537",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - On being (not quite) dead with Derrida

AU - Plant, Bob

N1 - Thanks to Gerry Hough for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article.

PY - 2016/3/1

Y1 - 2016/3/1

N2 - If mortality is the most important fact about us, then it is reasonable to think that fear of death is our most fundamental fear. Indeed, while philosophers continue to disagree about whether it is rational to fear death, they tend to assume that fear is the most common, natural response our mortality provokes. I neither want to deny the reality of this fear nor evaluate its rationality. Rather, drawing on Derrida’s remarks on ‘quasi-death’, I will argue that (1) fearful or not, death pervades everyday life; (2) imagining one’s own death, and thereby remaining semi-present as a spectral observer, is not (as some allege) inherently misleading; and (3) taking these imaginings seriously highlights another response we have toward our own mortality that is at least as significant as fear; namely, prospective, self-directed grief.

AB - If mortality is the most important fact about us, then it is reasonable to think that fear of death is our most fundamental fear. Indeed, while philosophers continue to disagree about whether it is rational to fear death, they tend to assume that fear is the most common, natural response our mortality provokes. I neither want to deny the reality of this fear nor evaluate its rationality. Rather, drawing on Derrida’s remarks on ‘quasi-death’, I will argue that (1) fearful or not, death pervades everyday life; (2) imagining one’s own death, and thereby remaining semi-present as a spectral observer, is not (as some allege) inherently misleading; and (3) taking these imaginings seriously highlights another response we have toward our own mortality that is at least as significant as fear; namely, prospective, self-directed grief.

KW - fear

KW - immortality

KW - quasi-death

KW - prospective grief

KW - ghost

U2 - 10.1177/0191453715593596

DO - 10.1177/0191453715593596

M3 - Article

VL - 42

SP - 320

EP - 338

JO - Philosophy & Social Criticism

JF - Philosophy & Social Criticism

SN - 0191-4537

IS - 3

ER -