Epicurus, Death, and the Wrongness of Killing

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (1):68-86 (2010)
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Abstract

This article questions the assumption, held by several philosophers, that the Epicurean argument for death's being ?nothing to us? must be fallacious since its acceptance would undermine the principle that killing is (in general) wrong. Two possible strategies are considered, which the Epicurean-sympathizer might deploy in order to show that the non-badness of death (for the person who dies) is compatible with killing's being wrong. One of these is unsuccessful; the other is more promising. It involves arguing that the wrongness of killing is a ?basic moral certainty? and hence requires no underpinning by the judgement that death is bad. Problems for this proposal, and possible responses to those problems, are considered. Though the strategy is not decisive, it is deemed to be one that the Epicurean could plausibly adopt.

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Mikel Burley
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

Er døden et onde?Bjørn Hol - 2023 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 58 (1):7-19.
Epicureanism and the Wrongness of Killing.Tim Burkhardt - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (2):177-192.

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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
On Certainty (ed. Anscombe and von Wright).Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1969 - San Francisco: Harper Torchbooks. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe, G. H. von Wright & Mel Bochner.
Well-being and death.Ben Bradley - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Death.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Noûs 4 (1):73-80.

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