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Katrin Flikschuh: Completing One’s Life

Colloquium lecture by Katrin Flikschuh (LSE), organized by the Department of Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy

Is it possible for one to complete one’s life; in particular, to do so prematurely? By one’s completing one’s life I do not mean one’s determining the point at which to end it. Nor do I mean one’s having lived a fully rounded or distinctly autonomous life. Instead, I mean one’s actively bringing one’s life towards the point of one’s death, and in so doing perhaps to reconcile oneself to the fact of one’s death.

Accomplishing this task is generally thought to be easier for the elderly than for those who know they will die prematurely. However, in social contexts that place a premium on personal autonomy, even the elderly may find it difficult to complete their lives. For those who confront death prematurely, their inability to complete their personal projects is especially painful. In this paper, I draw on modern African writings on personal destiny to canvass a moderate alternative to autonomy-based conceptions of a person’s life and her comportment towards her impending death. More specifically, I ask to what extent the personal destiny account may be better equipped than the personal autonomy view to reconcile a person to the fact of her premature death.

When & where?

Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 3.15-5pm
Faculty of Philosophy, Room Omega

Last modified:09 February 2018 12.10 p.m.