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The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 3–4, pp 409–418 | Cite as

Existential Terror

  • Ben BradleyEmail author
Article

Abstract

Many of us feel existential terror when contemplating our future nonexistence. I examine several attempts to rationally justify existential terror. The most promising of these appeals to the effects of future nonexistence on the meaningfulness of our lives. I argue that even this justification fails, and therefore existential terror is irrational.

Keywords

Death Emotion Fear Meaning of life Rationality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

A very abbreviated preliminary version of this paper was presented at the Immortality Project conference in Riverside, CA in May, 2015. Thanks to those present for their helpful comments. Thanks also to Nathan Ballantyne for very helpful comments on a later draft, and to Kirsten Egerstrom and Travis Timmerman for helpful discussion. Work on this paper was supported by the Immortality Project at the University of California-Riverside, funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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