The End of Life As “Non” Death

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Luigi Vero Tarca


Taking the cue from some verses of Rilke’s Duineser Elegien, where the poet talks about the distinction between life and death, a distinction which mortals perform too rigidly, in this paper I discuss the contrast just between life and death, in order to understand the conditions under which the first truly distinguishes itself from the latter. This happens to the extent that life is also distinguished from the denial of death because otherwise, being the negation a form of necation (nex = killing, murder), the presumed denial of death would reverse in a triumph of death.

In the present age this circumstance is particularly evident and significant, since humanity aims at a technological realization of im‑mortality, understood as the denial of death. To the extent that this remains a negative operation, it takes the form of the scrapping of mortals. True liberation/salvation from death presupposes that the negation itself is called into question. Only on this condition, in fact, is possible a life free from any form of necation. This freedom presupposes, inter alia, a “non” education, intended as an education to be able to freely play with the negative of death and denial.


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Tarca, L. V. (2019). The End of Life As “Non” Death. ETHICS IN PROGRESS, 10(1), 153-172.
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Author Biography

Luigi Vero Tarca, Università Ca’ Foscari

Luigi Vero Tarca has been full professor of Theoretical philosophy at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, where he is now Director Emeritus of CESTUDIR (Study Center for Human Rights). In his career, beyond other subjects, he taught also Logic, Epistemology and philosophy of science, Philosophy of knowledge and Hermeneutics, and beyond Ca’ Foscari he has been professor at the University of Salerno.Professor Tarca developed an original, overall philosophical perspective, based on the questioning of the notion of negation through the distinction between difference and negation. This led him to a radical renovation of the idea of undeniable truth, in particular as it is displayed in Emanuele Severino’s philosophy. On these basis, he formulated also a wisdom perspective thanks to which he promotes various experiences of Philosophical Practices, in particular the “Open Seminar of Philosophical Practices”, operative at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice since the last decade of the past century. In this field, he approached also Eastern wisdom, and in particular met repeatedly Raimon Panikkar, who helped him to better understand non Western ways of thinking. Among his numerous books, we can here remind Differenza e negazione. Per una filosofia positiva, La Città del Sole, Napoli 2003; Philosophy as Life Path. An Introduction to Philosophical Practices, IPOC, Milan 2007 (English translation of La filosofia come stile di vita, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2003); Verità e negazione. Variazioni di pensiero (Cafoscarina Editrice, Venezia 2016). 


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