Mortal Harm
Fischer (John Martin)
Source: Luper - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death, 2014, Chapter 8
Paper - Abstract

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Editor’s Introduction1

  1. In Chapter 8 John Martin Fischer asks: in what sense death is harmful to those who die?
  2. Famously, Epicurus denied that death harms us if it is understood as the cessation of existence. On one interpretation, his denial is based on the following experience requirement: we are harmed by something only if we can have an unpleasant experience as a result of it. According to the experience requirement, being punched or having one's reputation destroyed might be harmful to us, as these can give us bad experiences. But death seems harmless precisely because it removes the possibility of experience.
  3. According to Fischer, however, we should reject the experience requirement, as there are serious counterexamples to it. One that he offers is a modification of the betrayal example: suppose that a powerful person named White can and will prevent you from ever experiencing anything bad as a result of being betrayed. In that case, even though you are betrayed, you cannot have any bad experiences as a result. Yet it still seems bad for you to be betrayed.
  4. Fischer concludes that death is bad insofar as it deprives a victim of life that would have been good for her.


Book Chapter, but pdf downloaded from Cambridge Core. Filed in zip with full book.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Luper (Steven) - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death: Introduction".

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)

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