Death, 'Deathlessness' and Existenz in Karl Jaspers' Philosophy

Death, 'Deathlessness' and Existenz in Karl Jaspers' Philosophy

Filiz Peach
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Death, 'Deathlessness' and Existenz in Karl Jaspers' Philosophy
    Book Description:

    Filiz Peach provides a clear explanation of Jaspers’ philosophy of existence, clarifying and reassessing the concept of death that is central to his thought.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3091-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-ix)
  5. Glossary
    (pp. x-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    Karl Jaspers’ existential concept of death lies at the heart of this book. For Jaspers, a human being is not merely a physical entity, but a being with a transcendent aspect, which is in some sense ‘deathless’. It is the connection between these two aspects of the human being that governs the structure of his work. This book is primarily concerned to clarify and reassess Jaspers’ concept of death and his claim that one’s transcendent self ‘knows no death’. In this respect, it is an attempt to determine what it means for a human being to be ‘deathless’ within the...

  7. CHAPTER 1 Death – Some Preliminary Reflections
    (pp. 8-29)

    The issue of human relatedness to death manifests itself in various forms. There is neither a single, unchangeable attitude nor a correct one. In recognition of their importance, traditional attitudes towards death can be presented under three headings:

    Death is not the absolute end of the human being.

    Death is the absolute end of the human being.

    Sceptical, evasive and indifferent attitudes to death.

    Death-awareness enables the individual to look into some fundamental questions and develop an attitude and relationship to death. What is death? How do people relate to it? In order to illustrate diverse interpretations of attitudes, reference...

  8. CHAPTER 2 Karl Jaspers’ Philosophy of Existence
    (pp. 30-95)

    Jaspers is one of the influential German thinkers of the twentieth century. His influence is found in the works of Hannah Arendt, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jürgen Habermas, Helmut Plessner and Paul Tillich among other thinkers. Jaspers’ contribution to the medical, psychiatric and philosophical fields is extensive; his General Psychopathology, for example, is still used in psychiatry. It is none the less unfortunate that, as a philosopher, he has not been fully appreciated or fully explored in the English-speaking world. In his outlook and mode of inquiry, Jaspers’ primary focus was the concrete individual. He believed that personal experience is one’s fundamental...

  9. CHAPTER 3 Jaspers’ Concepts of Existenz and ‘Deathlessness’
    (pp. 96-144)

    In Chapter 2 we discussed Jaspers’ account of the notion of death and the distinction between death as an objective fact and death that gives rise to a boundary situation. We noted that one’s Dasein perishes at death. Existenz, one’s true self, however, ‘knows no death’, that is to say, it is deathless.¹ We also noted that the ‘deathlessness’ of Existenz within the Jaspersian framework does not imply immortality in the traditional sense of the term. In other words, there is no continued existence for Existenz after death.

    Let us now focus on this puzzling relationship between Existenz and death...

  10. CHAPTER 4 Existenz, Eternity as Non-temporal Duration and ‘Deathlessness’
    (pp. 145-187)

    In Chapter 3, we explored the relationship between Existenz, death and eternity. We also interpreted what it means for one’s Existenz to be deathless from two different perspectives: the Mystical and the Existential Interpretations. We now turn to the final part of the analysis. In this chapter, I draw on the traditional understanding of eternity as non-temporal duration. I then take a fresh look at Jaspers’ concept of the Augenblick experience within the framework of the Existential Interpretative model. Finally, Jaspers’ assertions about the eternal aspect of one’s Existenz is reassessed.

    I approach Jaspers’ concept of eternity as non-temporality/timelessness by...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 188-197)
  12. Index
    (pp. 198-212)