Fischer on death and unexperienced evils
- Ben Bradley
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A simple Epicurean argument goes as follows. Dead people have no sensations, a fortiori no bad sensations. Nothing is bad for us unless it is, or causes, some bad sensation (the experience requirement). Thus, being dead is not bad; nor is the event of one’s death, since it does not cause one to be in a bad state.
This argument stinks. But why? John Fischer, like Thomas Nagel, Robert Nozick, Jeff McMahan, and many others, objects to the experience requirement. In several chapters of Our Stories Fischer argues that there can be things that are bad for us that do not involve bad sensations at all.
Fischer 2009. All page references in the main text are to Our Stories unless otherwise noted.Some examples: Nagel’s example of the man who is betrayed behind his back and never finds out about it, but lives happily to the end of his days (pp. 5, 37, 104); Nozick’s example of the person who is secretly videotaped in her bedroom and watched by people in Outer Mongolia, but never finds out or has an
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- Fischer, J. (2009). Our Stories: essays on life, death, and free will. New York: Oxford University Press.
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- Pitcher, G. (1993). The misfortunes of the dead. In J. Fischer (Ed.), The metaphysics of death (pp. 159–168). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
- Rosenbaum, S. (1993). How to be dead and not care: a defense of Epicurus. In J. Fischer (Ed.), The metaphysics of death (pp. 119–134). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
- Silverstein, H. (1980). The evil of death. The Journal of Philosophy, 77, 401–424. CrossRef
- Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2009). How strong is this obligation? An argument for consequentialism from concomitant variation. Analysis, 69, 438–442. CrossRef
- Velleman, D. (1993). Well-being and time. In J. Fischer (Ed.), The metaphysics of death (pp. 329–357). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
- Fischer on death and unexperienced evils
Volume 158, Issue 3 , pp 507-513
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
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- Ben Bradley (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Philosophy Department, Syracuse University, 541 Hall of Languages, Syracuse, NY, 13244, USA