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Facing Death

James Warren

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780199252893
Published online August 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601408 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199252890.001.0001
Facing Death

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A comprehensive study and articulation of the interlocking Epicurean arguments against the fear of death found not only in the writings of Epicurus himself but also in Lucretius' poem De Rerum Natura and in Philodemus' work De Morte. These arguments are central to the Epicurean project of providing ataraxia (tranquillity, freedom from anxiety) and therefore central to an understanding of Epicureanism as a whole. They also offer significant resources for modern discussions of the value of, and possible harm of, death. A number of modern philosophers' criticisms or defences of the Epicureans' views are examined and evaluated in the light of a detailed study of the precise form and intention of the Epicureans' original arguments.

The Epicureans were interested in showing also that mortality is not to be regretted and that premature death is not to be feared. Their arguments for these conclusions are to be found in their positive conception of the nature of a good and complete life, which divorce the completeness of a life as far as possible from considerations of its duration. Later chapters investigate the nature of a life lived without the fear of death and pose serious problems for the Epicureans being able to allow any concern for the post mortem future and being able to offer a positive reason for prolonging a life which is already complete in their terms.

Keywords: complete life; death; Epicurus; fear; harm; Lucretius; mortality; Philodemus; post mortem future

Book.  250 pages. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Fears of Death in Facing Death

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Symmetry Arguments in Facing Death

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Conclusions in Facing Death

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