Epicurus And Lucretius Argument On Death

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Death may be considered an ending to life as we know it, a cessation of our consciousness. or a point in time when we stop sustaining ourselves with our central life processes. Death carries a sense of foreboding and reminds us to be constantly aware of our mortality. It is popularly conceived as the most terrifying of all ills. But what is the source of this dread? Is it the understanding of the huge consequences and effects our death has on those around us? Perhaps. But death does instill a certain sense of fear even in those living in absolute social isolation. It becomes clear that our fear, therefore is founded in the intrinsic character of death and the general conclusion that almost everyone seems to agree on, that death is bad for the…show more content…
Epicurus made the following argument in his letter to Menoeceus, “So death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist. It does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more.” The Epicurean argument introduced the ‘Missing subject problem’. Death becomes a problematically unique form of harm because we cease to exist after we die and therefore death no longer has a subject to inflict harm or benefit upon. There are no more sensations, because of which the person is no longer able to experience the ‘badness’. There is also an existence requirement; misfortune affects an individual only if he exists at the time the misfortune occurs. Lucretius supports the Epicurean argument and justifies it using the symmetry between non-existence before birth and non-existence after…show more content…
Nonetheless, even with a Hedonistic frame of mind, death may be considered as harmful. If a person had not died, they would have continued living their life and so death is depriving us of pleasure by taking away the possibilities of any future goods. An Epicurean may respond to this by arguing that it also removes the possibilities of any future negative evils to affect somebody and the dead person no longer has to experience the pain attached to them. Nagel argued against this by stating that the longer one lives, the longer one is able to obtain a larger number of goods. There is a general sense of deprivation of all things bad and good because the person no longer ‘is’. One may not necessarily miss them but death spells out an end of everything good in life for a person. Even some inherently bad factors in a person’s life are able to contribute towards maximizing the total pleasure they experience during their

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