Eternal oblivion (also referred to as non-existence or nothingness) [ page needed ] is the philosophical or religious concept of one's consciousness permanently ceasing upon death. This concept is mostly associated with religious skepticism, Secular humanism and atheism.
According to contemporary scientific theories of consciousness, the brain is the basis of subjective experience, agency, self-awareness, and awareness of the surrounding natural world.[ citation needed ] When brain death occurs, all brain function permanently ceases. Many people who believe that death is a permanent cessation of consciousness also believe that consciousness is dependent upon the functioning of the brain. Scientific research has discovered that some areas of the brain, like the reticular activating system or the thalamus, appear to be necessary for consciousness, because damage to these structures or their lack of function causes a loss of consciousness.[ citation needed ]
Through a naturalist analysis of the mind (an approach adopted by many philosophers of mind and neuroscientists), it is regarded as being dependent on the brain, as shown from the various effects of brain damage.
This section relies too much on references to primary sources . (August 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In the Apology of Socrates (written by Plato), after Socrates is sentenced to death, he addresses the court. He ponders the nature of death, and summarizes that there are basically two opinions about it. The first is that it is a migration of the soul or consciousness from this existence into another, and that the souls of all previously deceased people will also be there. This excites Socrates, because he will be able to conduct his dialectic inquiries with all of the great Greek heroes and thinkers of the past. The other opinion about death is that it is oblivion, the complete cessation of consciousness, not only unable to feel but a complete lack of awareness, like a person in a deep, dreamless sleep. Socrates says that even this oblivion does not frighten him very much, because while he would be unaware, he would correspondingly be free from any pain or suffering. Indeed, Socrates says, not even the great King of Persia could say that he ever rested so soundly and peacefully as he did in a dreamless sleep.
Cicero, writing three centuries later in his treatise On Old Age , in the voice of Cato the Elder, similarly discussed the prospects of death, frequently referring to the works of earlier Greek writers. Cicero also concluded that death was either a continuation of consciousness or cessation of it, and that if consciousness continues in some form, there is no reason to fear death; while if it is in fact eternal oblivion, he will be free of all worldly miseries, in which case he should also not be deeply troubled by death.
Similar thoughts about death were expressed by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius in his first-century BC didactic poem De rerum natura and by the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus in his Letter to Menoeceus, in which he writes;
Paraphrasing philosopher Paul Edwards, Keith Augustine and Yonatan I. Fishman note that "the greater the damage to the brain, the greater the corresponding damage to the mind. The natural extrapolation from this pattern is all too clear — obliterate brain functioning altogether, and mental functioning too will cease".
Contemporary atheist scientists Steven Pinker and Sean Carroll assert that death is equivalent to eternal oblivion, as physical theories based on scientific materialism allow for no mechanism to continue consciousness after death.
The term "eternal Oblivion" has been used in international treaties, such as in Article II of the Treaty of Westphalia 1648.It has also been used in legislation such as in the English Indemnity and Oblivion Act 1660, where the phrase used is "perpetual Oblivion" (it appears in several of the articles in the act).
Thomas W. Clark, founder of Center for Naturalism, wrote a paper titled "Death, Nothingness, and Subjectivity" (1994).He critiqued what he saw as a flawed description of eternal oblivion as a "plunge into darkness". When some imagine their deaths (including the non-religious), they project themselves into a future self which experiences an eternal silent darkness. This is wrong, because without consciousness, there is no awareness of space and no basis for time. For Clark, in oblivion there is not even an absence of experience, as we can only speak of experience when a subjective self exists.
According to neuroscientist Giulio Tononi, consciousness is "all we are and all we have: lose consciousness and, as far as you are concerned, your own self and the entire world dissolve into nothingness."
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Oblivion|
The afterlife is the belief that the essential part of an individual's identity or the stream of consciousness continues after the death of the physical body. According to various ideas about the afterlife, the essential aspect of the individual that lives on after death may be some partial element, or the entire soul or spirit, of an individual, which carries with it and may confer personal identity or, on the contrary nirvana. Belief in an afterlife is in contrast to the belief in oblivion after death.
Consciousness at its simplest is "awareness or sentience of internal or external existence". Despite centuries of analyses, definitions, explanations and debates by philosophers and scientists, consciousness remains puzzling and controversial, being "at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives". Perhaps the only widely agreed notion about the topic is the intuition that it exists. Opinions differ about what exactly needs to be studied and explained as consciousness. Sometimes it is synonymous with 'the mind', other times just an aspect of mind. In the past it was one's "inner life", the world of introspection, of private thought, imagination and volition. Today, with modern research into the brain it often includes any kind of experience, cognition, feeling or perception. It may be 'awareness', or 'awareness of awareness', or self-awareness. There might be different levels or orders of consciousness, or different kinds of consciousness, or just one kind with different features. Other questions include whether only humans are conscious or all animals or even the whole universe. The disparate range of research, notions and speculations raises doubts whether the right questions are being asked.
Death is the cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include aging, predation, poisoning, malnutrition, disease, suicide, homicide, drug intoxication, starvation, dehydration, and accidents or major trauma resulting in fatal injury. The remains of a living organism begin to decompose shortly after death. It is an inevitable process eventually occurring in all living organisms.
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by Democritus, Aristippus, Pyrrho, and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as "the Garden", in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects. He openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. Epicurus is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him—the letters to Menoeceus, Pythocles, and Herodotus—and two collections of quotes—the Principle Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings—have survived intact, along with a few fragments of his other writings. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, and with hostile but largely accurate accounts by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the Academic Skeptic and statesman Cicero.
The mind is the set of thinking faculties including cognitive aspects such as consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory, as well as noncognitive aspects such as emotion. Under the scientific physicalist interpretation, the mind is housed at least in part in the brain. The primary competitors to the physicalist interpretations of the mind are idealism, substance dualism, and types of property dualism, and by some lights eliminative materialism and anomalous monism. There is a lengthy tradition in philosophy, religion, psychology, and cognitive science about what constitutes a mind and what are its distinguishing properties.
The soul, in many religious, philosophical, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche comprises the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or immortal.
Epicureanism is a system of philosophy founded around 307 BC based upon the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus. Epicureanism was originally a challenge to Platonism. Later its main opponent became Stoicism.
Mind–body dualism is the view in the philosophy of mind that mental phenomena are non-physical, or that the mind and body are distinct and separable. Thus, it encompasses a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, and between subject and object, and is contrasted with other positions, such as physicalism and enactivism, in the mind–body problem.
Eudaimonia, sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, "human flourishing or prosperity" and "blessedness" have been proposed as more accurate translations.
Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology, sometimes published with the subtitle A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, is a 1943 book by the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. In the book, Sartre develops a philosophical account in support of his existentialism, dealing with topics such as consciousness, perception, social philosophy, self-deception, the existence of "nothingness", psychoanalysis, and the question of free will.
De rerum natura is a first-century BC didactic poem by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius with the goal of explaining Epicurean philosophy to a Roman audience. The poem, written in some 7,400 dactylic hexameters, is divided into six untitled books, and explores Epicurean physics through poetic language and metaphors. Namely, Lucretius explores the principles of atomism; the nature of the mind and soul; explanations of sensation and thought; the development of the world and its phenomena; and explains a variety of celestial and terrestrial phenomena. The universe described in the poem operates according to these physical principles, guided by fortuna ("chance"), and not the divine intervention of the traditional Roman deities.
According to divine illumination, the process of human thought needs to be aided by divine grace. It is the oldest and most influential alternative to naturalism in the theory of mind and epistemology. It was an important feature of ancient Greek philosophy, Neoplatonism, medieval philosophy, and the Illuminationist school of Islamic philosophy.
In philosophy of mind, panpsychism is the view that mind or a mind-like aspect is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of reality. It is also described as a theory that "the mind is a fundamental feature of the world which exists throughout the universe." It holds that mentality is present in all natural bodies that have unified and persisting organization, which most proponents define in a way that excludes objects such as rocks, trees, and human artifacts.
The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining why and how sentient organisms have qualia or phenomenal experiences—how and why it is that some internal states are subjective, felt states, such as heat or pain, rather than merely nonsubjective, unfelt states, as in a thermostat or a toaster. The philosopher David Chalmers, who introduced the term "hard problem" of consciousness, contrasts this with the "easy problems" of explaining the ability to discriminate, integrate information, report mental states, focus attention, and so forth. Easy problems are (relatively) easy because all that is required for their solution is to specify a mechanism that can perform the function. That is, regardless of how complex or poorly understood the phenomena of the easy problems may be, they can eventually be understood by relying entirely on standard scientific methodologies. Chalmers claims that the problem of experience is distinct from this set and will "persist even when the performance of all the relevant functions is explained".
Christof Koch is a German-American neuroscientist best known for his work on the neural bases of consciousness. He is the president and chief scientist of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. From 1986 until 2013, he was a professor at the California Institute of Technology.
Animal consciousness, or animal awareness, is the quality or state of self-awareness within a non-human animal, or of being aware of an external object or something within itself. In humans, consciousness has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, qualia, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is.
Giulio Tononi is a neuroscientist and psychiatrist who holds the David P. White Chair in Sleep Medicine, as well as a Distinguished Chair in Consciousness Science, at the University of Wisconsin. He is best known for his IIT, a mathematical theory of consciousness, which he has proposed since 2004 and the symbol of which is Phi (φ).
A sage, in classical philosophy, is someone who has attained wisdom. The term has also been used interchangeably with a 'good person', and a 'virtuous person'. Among the earliest accounts of the sage begin with Empedocles' Sphairos. Horace describes the Sphairos as "Completely within itself, well-rounded and spherical, so that nothing extraneous can adhere to it, because of its smooth and polished surface." Alternatively, the sage is one who lives "according to an ideal which transcends the everyday."
Free will in antiquity is a philosophical and theological concept.
Consciousness after death is a common theme in society and culture in the context of life after death. Scientific research has established that the mind and consciousness are closely connected with the physiological functioning of the brain, the cessation of which defines brain death. However, many believe in some form of life after death, which is a feature of many religions.