Gabriel Marcel on Personal Immortality

Document Type




Format of Original

14 p.; 23 cm

Publication Date

Summer 2006


Philosophy Documentation Center

Source Publication

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Source ISSN


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.


American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 80, No. 3 (Summer 2006): 393-406. DOI.