Reviving Concurrentism About Death
Epicurus claimed that we are worse off because of death neither before it happens nor after, and he was right about that. But he went wrong in supposing on that basis that death is no harm at all, because he neglected a third possibility. Death may be bad for its victim just when it happens. I’ll argue that this maligned alternative is the most plausible view about the times when our deaths are bad for us. Call it Concurrentism. The aim is to show that Concurrentism should be brushed aside no longer. There are two key premises: (a) we are worse off due to harms when the relevant events are occurring and, (b) that one must exist at time t to be worse off at t. If (a) and (b) are true, Concurrentism emerges as an especially natural theory of the deprivation of death.
This fact has gone mostly unnoticed by philosophers responding to Epicurus. To date, Julian Lamont is the only other philosopher I’m aware of to have defended Concurrentism in print.1Two recent books on the...