Symmetry Arguments

James Warren

in Facing Death

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780199252893
Published online August 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601408 | DOI:
Symmetry Arguments

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An examination of the second central Epicurean argument, to be found in Lucretius: death is not to be feared since it is relevantly like pre-natal non-existence and pre-natal non-existence is not a harm. The chapter first clarifies the exact Epicurean ‘symmetry’ argument and then compares other ancient versions. It considers recent reactions to the argument (by, for example Derek Parfit, and Joseph Raz) which seek to find some relevant asymmetry between the two periods of non-existence.

Keywords: birth; Derek Parfit; Joseph Raz; non-existence; symmetry

Chapter.  21600 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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