The Power of Death: Retroactivity, Narrative, and Interest

Patrick Stokes
Deakin University
This paper contrasts Kierkegaard's response to Epicurean indifference to death in "At a Graveside" with attempts in contemporary analytic philosophy to overcome Epicurus ' challenge to the rationality of fearing death. I argue that attempts by Nagel, Pitcher, Feinberg etc. to show why death is a harm rely on a narrative understanding of life that, according to Kierkegaard, is unavailable with respect to one's own death. Kierkegaard's approach, by contrast, involves becoming phenomenally co-present with one's own death via a specific mode of "earnest" contemplation.
Keywords Kierkegaard  Harmfulness of Death  "At a Graveside"Epicurus  Narrative
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,579
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Deletion as Second Death: The Moral Status of Digital Remains.Patrick Stokes - 2015 - Ethics and Information Technology 17 (4):237-248.
Heidegger's Reception of Kierkegaard: The Existential Philosophy of Death.Adam Buben - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (5):967 - 988.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Naked Subjectivity: Minimal Vs. Narrative Selves in Kierkegaard.Patrick Stokes - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (4):356-382.
Deprivation and the See-Saw of Death.Christopher Wareham - 2009 - South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):246-56.
Posthumous Harm.Steven Luper - 2004 - American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (1):63 - 72.
Death.Shelly Kagan - 2012 - Yale University Press.
Epicurean Equanimity Towards Death.Kai Draper - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1):92–114.


Added to PP index

Total views
3 ( #1,334,673 of 2,461,991 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #448,803 of 2,461,991 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes