Where is the Harm in Dying Prematurely? An Epicurean Answer

The Journal of Ethics 17 (1-2):79-97 (2013)
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Philosophers have said less than is needed about the nature of premature death, and about the badness or otherwise of that death for the one who dies. In this paper, premature death’s nature is clarified in Epicurean terms. And an accompanying argument denies that we need to think of such a death as bad in itself for the one who dies. Premature death’s nature is conceived of as a death that arrives before ataraxia does. (Ataraxia’s nature is also clarified. It is a pervasive inner peace that is a kind of purity and completeness in how one is living.) Whatever harm we might attribute to a premature death is better attributed to a life’s being lived at that time without ataraxia. The paper ends by explaining how its Epicurean account, more so than comparativist or narrativist accounts, could allow a person to know that her death will not be premature



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Stephen Hetherington
University of New South Wales

Citations of this work

A dilemma for Epicureanism.Travis Timmerman - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):241-257.
Death and existential value: In defence of Epicurus.Marcus Willaschek - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (2):475-492.
Døden som et onde.Carl Tollef Solberg - 2019 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 54 (3):167-186.

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References found in this work

Epistemology and cognition.Alvin I. Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Well-being and death.Ben Bradley - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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