Death is the loss of life and is defined as the separation of a human being’s body and spirit. Mortality refers to one’s susceptibility to death, whereas finitude refers to one’s ability to set boundaries or limits. Themes of death, mortality, and finitude have been explored by great philosophers such as Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre, who have provided different explanations for each of the aspects. Despite their differing perspectives on the fate of human life, Sartre and Heidegger agree that death is the final destination for all living things.
Death, according to Heidegger, is an occurrence that occurs on a regular basis all over the world. The focus on Heidegger on the aspect of death is human beings await death although they do not know the time it will occur. To Heidegger, the uncertainty of the occurrence of death has some significance impact on the existence of human beings (Jurica et al.). It is an event that happens to other people and it will happen to each and every person sooner than later. If death has not occurred to a person, then it has no business to do with him/her at that particular moment. However, it will occur to the individual at a different point in time. Comprehensive understanding of the human existence gives full insight to the concept of death. When human existence is fully understood, it becomes vivid that human beings are headed towards death. Sartre perspective on death is that human beings have to die, but the possibility of dying does not have a significant impact on the lives of people. Besides, Sartre believes a person is defined by the choices taken and actions committed during existence. Sartre asserts that life comprises of different choices from which a person chooses (Jurica et al.). Both Sartre and Heidegger believe that human beings exist, make choices, and await death but they both differ on the impact of death on the lives of individuals.
Both Sartre and Heidegger believes that human beings are subject to death hence they are subject to mortality. Both philosophers believe that the life of a human being is bound by time limits and expires at one point in time. Also, the philosophers assert that human beings understand that they are subject to mortality and therefore spend some of their time thinking about death. All human beings are subject to mortality and cannot prevent it (Jurica et al.). Whereas Heidegger has the viewpoint that human beings have to await death to occur and have no control over it Sartre believes an individual can either choose death at a time of their choice or wait for it to happen.
Heidegger claims that existence of human beings is bound by that do not allow full expression of their freedom. He claims that human beings are bound by background occurrences that happen in their lives and they do not have a way of controlling or directing those processes. Heidegger asserts that individuals are unified by the background practices they share. Sartre perspective on finitude is that it is important to the human existence. According to Sartre, when there is no finitude or limitation to the existence of human beings, their actions can have endless consequences. For Sartre, lack of finitude can compromise the freedom of human beings and threaten their existence (Terezakis). Heidegger believes that finitude is not essential in the lives of human being but Sartre views finitude as a necessity to the human existence.
Jurica, John, et al. “Ultimate concerns from existential and positive psychological perspectives.” Meaning in positive and existential psychology. Springer New York, 2014. 115-128.
Terezakis, Katie. “The Integrity of Finitude.” Commonplace Commitments: Thinking through the Legacy of Joseph P. Fell (2016): 213.