Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):135-159 (2016)

Authors
Meghan Sullivan
University of Notre Dame
Peter Finocchiaro
Wuhan University
Abstract
In this paper, we develop a novel version of the so-called Lucretian symmetry argument against the badness of death. Our argument has two features that make it particularly effective. First, it focuses on the preferences of rational agents. We believe the focus on preferences eliminates needless complications and emphasizes the urgency to respond to the argument. Second, our argument utilizes a principle that states that a rational agent's preferences should not vary in arbitrary ways. We argue that this principle underlies our judgments of cognitive biases. We should therefore endorse the principle insofar as we think a cognitively biased agent fails to be rational. In the second half of the paper we survey potential ways to resist the new symmetry argument. We show that they all fail to meet the dialectical burden of our argument or involve highly controversial assumptions about the metaphysics of time or the limits of rational preferences.
Keywords Death  Lucretius  Time  Rationality
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Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1111/phpe.12081
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References found in this work BETA

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