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Samuel Scheffler Edit Profile

Philosopher , university professor

Samuel Scheffler, American philosophy educator. University California Humanities Research fellow, 1982, Guggenheim Foundation fellow, 1984, President's fellow University California, 1989, National Endowment of the Humanities fellow, 1989. Fellow American Academy Arts and Sciences; member American Philosophical Association.


Scheffler, Samuel was born on October 20, 1951 in New York City. Son of Israel and Rosalind (Zuckerbrod) Scheffler.


Scheffler received his PhD from Princeton University, where he was a student of the distinguished philosopher Thomas Nagel.


Before moving to NYU in 2008, Scheffler taught for 31 years at the University of California, Berkeley. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2004. 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 (philosopher) 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. 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.".



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." 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.


Fellow American Academy Arts and Sciences. Member American Philosophical Association.


Married Kathryn Granzow, January 16, 1983. Children: Adam Nathaniel, Gabriel Alexander.

Israel Scheffler

Rosalind (Zuckerbrod) Scheffler

Kathryn Granzow

Adam Nathaniel Scheffler

Gabriel Alexander Scheffler