Advertisement

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 145–162 | Cite as

A puzzle about death’s badness: Can death be bad for the paradise-bound?

  • Taylor W. Cyr
Article
  • 736 Downloads

Abstract

Since at least the time of Epicurus, philosophers have debated whether (and how) death could be bad for the one who has died, since (it is typically assumed) death is a permanent experiential blank. But a different (and hitherto unexplored) puzzle about death’s badness arises when we consider the death of a person who is paradise-bound. The first purpose of this paper is to develop this puzzle. The second purpose of this paper is to suggest and evaluate several potential attempts to solve the puzzle. After rejecting two seemingly attractive suggestions, I argue that there are two types of solution to the puzzle that can succeed. The first type of solution simply denies that death can be bad for the paradise-bound. I argue that the main worry for this type of solution, namely that it gives up (with respect to the paradise-bound) the common-sense view about death’s badness, is only a prima facie worry. The second type of solution maintains that death can be bad for the paradise-bound because it can deprive her of certain goods, which allows those who are attracted to this type of solution to adopt the deprivation account of death’s badness. I consider three views of the relation between the paradise-bound and paradise that are consistent with the deprivation account, connecting my discussion of paradise with the extant literature on death’s badness.

Keywords

Death Deprivation account Epicureanism Paradise 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Zac Bachman, Dave Beglin, Marcia Cyr, Matt Flummer, Meredith McFadden, Jonah Nagashima, and the audience at the Henry Janssen Memorial Conference at San Diego State University for helpful discussion of earlier drafts of this paper. I am especially grateful to John Fischer for encouraging me to write the paper and for helpful discussion throughout the process.

References

  1. Baker, L. R. (2005). Death and the afterlife. In W. Wainwright (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of philosophy of religion (pp. 366–391). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker, L. R. (2007). Persons and the metaphysics of resurrection. Religious Studies, 43, 333–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker, L. R. (2011). Christian materialism in a scientific age. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 70, 47–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnard, J. (2007). Purgatory and the dilemma of sanctification. Faith and Philosophy, 24, 311–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brueckner, A., & Fischer, J. M. (1986). Why is death bad? Philosophical Studies, 50, 213–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cyr, T. (2014). Rationally not caring about torture: A reply to Johansson. Journal of Ethics, 18, 331–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cyr, T. (Forthcoming). Death’s badness and time-relativity: A reply to Purves. Journal of Ethics. doi:  10.1007/s10892-015-9200-y.
  8. Feldman, F. (1992). Confrontations with the reaper: A philosophical study of the nature and value of death. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Fischer, J. M. (1997). Death, badness, and the impossibility of experience. Journal of Ethics, 1, 341–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fischer, J. M. (2006). Epicureanism about death and immortality. Journal of Ethics, 10, 355–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fischer, J. M., & Brueckner, A. L. (2014a). Prenatal and posthumous non-existence: A reply to Jonhasson. Journal of Ethics, 18, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fischer, J. M., & Brueckner, A. L. (2014b). Accommodating counterfactual attitudes: A further reply to Jonhasson. Journal of Ethics, 18, 19–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fischer, J. M., & Brueckner, A. L. (2014c). The mirror-image argument: An additional reply to Jonhasson. Journal of Ethics, 18, 325–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Johansson, J. (2013). Past and future non-existence. Journal of Ethics, 17, 51–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Johansson, J. (2014a). Actual and counterfactual attitudes: Reply to Brueckner and Fischer. Journal of Ethics, 18, 11–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Johansson, J. (2014b). More on the mirror: Reply to Fischer and Brueckner. Journal of Ethics, 18, 341–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Judisch, N. (2009). Sanctification, satisfaction, and the purpose of purgatory. Faith and Philosophy, 26, 167–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Le Goff, J. (1984). The birth of purgatory, A. Goldhammer (Trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. Long, A. A., & Sedley, D. N. (1987). The Hellenistic philosophers. 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McDannell, C., & Lang, B. (1990). Heaven: A history. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  21. Merricks, T. (2009). The resurrection of the body. In T. Flint & M. Rea (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of philosophical theology (pp. 476–490). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Mitsis, P. (2012). When death is there, we are not: Epicurus on pleasure and death. In B. Bradley, F. Feldman, & J. Johansson (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of philosophy of death (pp. 200–217). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. More, T. (2002). The four last things, the supplication of souls, a dialogue on conscience, rendered in modern English by M. Gottschalk. New York: Scepter Publishers.Google Scholar
  24. Nagel, T. (1979). Death. In T. Nagel (Ed.), Mortal questions (pp. 1–10). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Nussbaum, M. (1994). The therapy of desire: Theory and practice in Hellenistic ethics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Purves, D. (2015). Torture and incoherence: A reply to Cyr. Journal of Ethics, 19, 213–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rosenbaum, S. (1986). How to be dead and not care: A defense of Epicurus. American Philosophical Quarterly, 23, 217–225.Google Scholar
  28. Silverstein, H. (1980). The evil of death. Journal of Philosophy, 77, 401–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stump, E. (2006). Resurrection, reassembly, and reconstitution: Aquinas on the soul. In B. Niederberger & E. Runggaldier (Eds.), Die menschliche Seele: Brauchen wir den Dualismus? (pp. 151–172). Frankfurt-London: Ontos Verlag.Google Scholar
  30. van Inwagen, P. (1978). The possibility of resurrection. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 9, 114–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. van Inwagen, P. (1990). Material beings. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Walls, J. (2002). Heaven: The logic of eternal joy. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Walls, J. (2011). Purgatory: The logic of total transformation. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Winseman, A. (2004). Eternal destinations: Americans believe in heaven, hell. http://www.gallup.com/poll/11770/eternal-destinations-americans-believe-heaven-hell.aspx. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  35. Zimmerman, D. (1999). The compatibility of materialism and survival: The ‘falling elevator’ model. Faith and Philosophy, 16, 194–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of California, RiversideRiversideUSA

Personalised recommendations