Gabriel Marcel on Personal Immortality
Format of Original
14 p.; 23 cm
Philosophy Documentation Center
American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly
Original Item ID
doi: 10.5840/acpq20068037; Shelves: B 1 .N4 2006 v. 80, Memorial Periodicals
The question of personal immortality is a central one for Gabriel Marcel. Early in his life he took part in parapsychological experiments which convinced him that one could, rarely and with great difficulty, communicate with the dead. In a philosophical vein he argued that each self has an eternal dimension which is of eternal worth. This dimension is particularly manifest in self-sacrifice, where I find it meaningful to give my life for another and when I unconditionally commitment myself in love to another self. Marcel also cites the experience of trust or hope, and the experience that life is not an absurd freak accident of nature destined for eternal extinction but rather possesses absolute meaning and value. Yet, none of the above experiences involves certitude; one remains free to accept or reject them and what they claim to involve.