Why Is Death Bad?

F. M. Kamm

in Morality, Mortality Volume I: Death and Whom to Save From It

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780195119114
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872244 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

 Why Is Death Bad?

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Examines the question of why death is bad: is it bad for the person who dies, and, if so, why? The question of what the scientific criteria should be for the person who dies is dealt with later in the book. The discussion is based on an assumption that death is painless, not untimely, and involves no afterlife or return to life, only posthumous non‐existence; it also assumes that the concern is with why death is bad for the person who dies rather than any people who remain alive, and that even if everyone died at once, something worse has happened to each person than would have happened if that person and everyone else had lived instead. The approach taken to the question by Epicurus (How can death be bad for anyone at all?) and Thomas Nagel's response to this (his ‘Deprivation Account’) are examined, and then various criticisms of Nagel's approach are presented and discussed. Additional objections to Nagel's approach are considered in the next chapter.

Keywords: badness of death; death; Epicurus; Thomas Nagel; Nagel's Deprivation Account

Chapter.  7288 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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