Samuel Scheffler

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Samuel Scheffler
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Moral philosophy, political philosophy

Samuel Scheffler (born 1951) is a moral and political philosopher who is University Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the Law School at New York University.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Before moving to NYU in 2008, Scheffler taught for 31 years at the University of California, Berkeley.[2] Scheffler received his PhD from Princeton University, where he was a student of the distinguished philosopher Thomas Nagel. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2004.[3]

He is the son of the Harvard philosopher Israel Scheffler.

Philosophical work[edit]

His most recent book, Death and the Afterlife, based on his Tanner Lectures at University of California, Berkeley has generated considerable attention for its argument that much that we value in life depends on the assumption that life will continue long after our death. As the Princeton philosopher Mark Johnston explained in the Boston Review: "In Scheffler’s self-consciously idiosyncratic use of the term, the 'afterlife' is neither a supernatural continuation of this life, nor the result of a deeper naturalistic understanding of the kind of thing we are; it is what John Stuart Mill called 'the onward rush of mankind,' the collective life of humanity after our individual deaths. Scheffler’s thesis is that the onward rush of humankind—the collective afterlife—is much more important to us than we are ordinarily apt to notice."[4] Assessing the argument, the English philosopher John Cottingham wrote: "Scheffler has produced a superb essay -- indeed it seems to me about as good as analytic philosophy gets. It is entirely free from obfuscating jargon and other tiresome tricks of the trade, yet it is meticulously argued and demanding in exactly the right way -- forcing us to think about hitherto unexamined implications of our existing beliefs."[5]

Selected books[edit]

  • Why Worry About Future Generations (Oxford University Press, 2018)
  • Death and the Afterlife (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Equality and Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Boundaries and Allegiances: Problems of Justice and Responsibility in Liberal Thought (Oxford University Press, 2001)
  • The Rejection of Consequentialism (Oxford University Press 2nd ed., 1994) (editor)
  • Human Morality (Oxford University Press, 1992)


  1. ^ "Samuel Scheffler, Faculty of Philosophy - NYU".
  2. ^ "Samuel Scheffler".
  3. ^ "Press Releases - American Academy of Arts & Sciences".
  4. ^ "Is Life a Ponzi Scheme?".
  5. ^ ENR // AgencyND // University of Notre Dame. "Death and the Afterlife".

External links[edit]