Comments on Death, Posthumous Harm and Bioethics

Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (9):639-640 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I cannot possibly do justice to James Taylor's main contention that full-blooded epicureanism is true. But if it is true then, as he notes, this ‘bold’ philosophical position promises to revise our thinking about many areas in bioethics which presuppose that death is bad.1 Of course if Epicureanism is true, the implications run much wider and deeper than bioethics. Any human activity that in any way presupposes the badness of death will be groundless—killing or being killed in war will be morally inconsequential, saving people from death will be without merit and execution could not count as punishment. But, Taylor assures us, the truth of Epicureanism need not force such drastic practical changes for two reasons: excising the mistaken non-epicurean portion of those practical matters might not exhaust our concerns with those questions, and in any case we might be hard-wired to think that death is bad, so we would be stuck with a view that we see on reflection is false .2 However, that much of our common sense practical thinking about life and death might remain intact despite being groundless is small comfort, since we would then be something like Christians trying to carry on who realise, on reflection, that there is no God.Taylor seeks to mitigate …



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 79,702

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Harming the Dead.James Stacey Taylor - 2008 - Journal of Philosophical Research 33:185-202.
Mortal harm.Steven Luper - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (227):239–251.
Harm, Change, and Time.C. Belshaw - 2012 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (5):425-444.
Posthumous Harm.Steven Luper - 2004 - American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (1):63 - 72.
Desire fulfillment and posthumous harm.Douglas W. Portmore - 2007 - American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (1):27 - 38.
Epicurus and the harm of death.William Grey - 1999 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):358 – 364.
Accounting for the Harm of Death.Duncan Purves - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (1):89-112.
The Irrevocability of Capital Punishment.Benjamin S. Yost - 2011 - Journal of Social Philosophy 42 (3):321-340.
Brueckner and Fischer on the Evil of Death.Huiyuhl Yi - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (2):295-303.


Added to PP

14 (#750,643)

6 months
1 (#479,744)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Frederik Kaufman
Ithaca College

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

Death, posthumous harm, and bioethics.James Stacey Taylor - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (9):636-637.

Add more references