American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (1):63 - 72 (2004)

Authors
Steven Luper
Trinity University
Abstract
According to Epicurus (1966a,b), neither death, nor anything that occurs later, can harm those who die, because people who die are not made to suffer as a result of either. In response, many philosophers (e.g., Nagel 1970, Feinberg 1984, and Pitcher 1984) have argued that Epicurus is wrong on both counts. They have defended the mortem thesis: death may harm those who die. They have also defended the post-mortem thesis: posthumous events may harm people who die. Their arguments for this joint view are by now quite familiar, and there is no need to rehearse them here (for a summary, see Luper 2002). Instead, our topic is a third position, which carves out intermediate ground between the other two. The intermediate view takes the mortem thesis for granted, like the critics of Epicurus, but rejects the post-mortem thesis, like Epicurus himself. For Epicurus’ project—the attainment of ataraxia, or equanimity—the intermediate view is almost useless (we are not tranquil if we regard death as a tragedy whose peculiarity is that it frees us from the possibility of any further misfortune); however, it is far more plausible than Epicurus’ own position since it avoids his absurd claim that death cannot harm us, while retaining his view that events occurring while we are dead and gone cannot harm us. According to the proponent of the intermediate view, when we understand the harm death inflicts, we must reject the idea that events following death can be bad for us. The damage death itself does is so severe that people are not subject to harm by any subsequent events. Thus the intermediate view rests on the mortem thesis together with the immunity thesis: death leaves its victims immune from posthumous harm.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,577
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Comparative Harm, Creation and Death.Neil Feit - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (2):136-163.
Whole-Life Welfarism.Ben Bramble - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1):63-74.

View all 25 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Harming the Dead.James Stacey Taylor - 2008 - Journal of Philosophical Research 33:185-202.
Death's Distinctive Harm.Stephan Blatti - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):317-30.
Killing and Dying.Dan Moller - 2006 - American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (3):235-247.
The Metaphysics of Death.John Martin Fischer (ed.) - 1993 - Stanford University Press.
Desire Fulfillment and Posthumous Harm.Douglas W. Portmore - 2007 - American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (1):27 - 38.
Mortal Harm.Steven Luper - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (227):239–251.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
178 ( #67,901 of 2,533,610 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #90,682 of 2,533,610 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes