A puzzle about death’s badness: Can death be bad for the paradise-bound?
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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.
KeywordsDeath Deprivation account Epicureanism Paradise
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.
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