Why Death Is Not Bad for the One Who Died
Suits (David B.)
Source: American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 69-84
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsBooks / Papers Citing this PaperNotes Citing this PaperColour-ConventionsDisclaimer

Author’s Introduction

  1. If death is bad for the one who died, then it must be a very peculiar kind of misfortune indeed. It is certainly not the kind the "victim" could conceivably complain about, because a dead person can neither know, nor appreciate, nor in any possible way experience any effects of death.
  2. What could be bad which could have no bad effects - in fact, no effects at all? Would it not be more reasonable to say with Epicurus that, rightly understood, "death is nothing to us"?
  3. The most popular view about how death might nevertheless be bad for the one who died relies on a deprivation approach, according to which death can be bad because it deprives the former person of the goods which would have been available in a counterfactually longer life.
  4. I aim to show that the deprivation approach is flawed on three counts.
    • First of all, death is not a deprivation on any reasonable understanding of what deprivation is.
    • Second, the deprivation approach does not show that death is bad in any recognizable sense for the deceased.
    • And third, some deprivation views rely on a life-life (or, more accurately, actual-life vs. counterfactually longer life) comparison, yet such a comparison does not yield the conclusion that death can be bad for the one who died.


Makropulos Case

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - Sept 2020. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page