The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 213–218 | Cite as

Torture and Incoherence: A Reply to Cyr

  • Duncan PurvesEmail author


John Martin Fischer and Anthony L. Brueckner have argued that a person’s death is, in many cases, bad for him, whereas a person’s prenatal non-existence is not bad for him. Their suggestion relies on the idea that death deprives the person of pleasant experiences that it is rational for him to care about, whereas prenatal non-existence only deprives him of pleasant experiences that it is not rational for him to care about. Jens Johansson has objected to this justification of ‘The Asymmetry’ between the badness of death and pre-natal non-existence on the grounds that what it is actually rational for us to care about is irrelevant to the question of whether the event is bad for us. Taylor Cyr has recently argued that Jens Johansson’s objection to Fischer’s and Brueckner’s position relies on an incoherent example, and is thus unsuccessful. I argue that Cyr’s attempt to defend Fischer and Brueckner in fact illustrates that their position is incoherent, and that Johansson’s objection therefore succeeds.


The asymmetry Anthony L. Brueckner Taylor Cyr Death Deprivation approach John Martin Fischer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WyomingLaramieUSA

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