Pablo Andreu - Death as an “Ontological Infidelity”

Our podcast turns to a paper from Pablo Andreu, University of Zaragoza, Spain, and University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland.. The recording is taken from our 2019 Annual Conference, ‘The Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’.


ABSTRACT: The following paper aims to open the reader to a comprehension of death from a phenomenological and hermeneutical point of view. Set against the background work of Max Scheler and Martini Heidegger’s analysis of the phenomenon, we adopt Paul Louis Landsberg’s interpretation of death as an “ontological infidelity”. Such definition of death deals with a fundamental and original predisposition to believe, which we recognize as faith. This faith, which stand as a complete openness to the other, is an essential constituent of human existence, without which we cannot understand Heidegger’s Angst. As such, we postulate that this faith is ontologically prior to Heidegger’s anxiety. As Landsberg says, “the anguish of death, and not only the pain of dying, would be incomprehensible of the fundamental structure of our being did not include the existential postulate of something beyond” (Landsberg, 2009, p. 25). We defend that by the braking of the connections entangled through this essential openness, the person is striped from the meaning of her existence and therefore thrown to a state of dead. This implies that there is no possible understanding of the phenomenon of death without a comprehension of our relation with and to the other. As a result, first, we aim to give a specific reading on the phenomenon of death, that is not to be confused with our mortal condition – so in Scheler and Heidegger – and, second, shed some light unto the actual medical debate concerning the state of being of patients in situations that cannot be clearly determined neither as alive nor dead.


BIO: Pablo Ilian Toso Andreu is a PhD Student at the University of Zaragoza, Spain, currently staying at University College Dublin (UCD) in Ireland. Mainly focused on phenomenology, and specifically the phenomenology of death, Mr. Andreu has also approached analytic philosophy through the Master’s program offered by the University of Barcelona.


The ‘British Society for Phenomenology Annual Conference 2019 – the Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’ was held at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, UK, 5 – 7 September, 2019:


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