Travis Timmerman
Seton Hall University
Most philosophers in the death literature believe that death can be bad for the person who dies. The most popular view of death’s badness—namely, deprivationism—holds that death is bad for the person who dies because, and to the extent that, it deprives them of the net good that they would have accrued, had their actual death not occurred. Deprivationists thus face the challenge of locating the time that death is bad for a person. This is known as the Timing Problem, which is thought to be one of the biggest challenges facing views holding that death can be bad for the person who dies. Every possible answer to this question has been defended in the literature, yet each answer can seemingly be shown to be subject to compelling objections. In this paper, I argue that the force of the Timing Problem is illusory. Specifically, I argue that the problem, as formulated in the literature, is underspecified. Any adequately precise form of the question ‘When is death bad for the person who dies?’ is one to which there is a clear, decisive, and unproblematic answer.
Keywords death  Epicureanism  deprivationism  harm  timing question  timing problem  no subject problem
Categories (categorize this paper)
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: 69,078
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

Well-Being and Death.Ben Bradley - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Death.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Noûs 4 (1):73-80.

View all 33 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

When is Death Bad, When It is Bad?John Martin Fischer - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):2003-2017.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Desire Satisfaction, Death, and Time.Duncan Purves - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):799-819.
Death's Distinctive Harm.Stephan Blatti - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):317-30.
What is a Premature Death?Brooke Alan Trisel - 2007 - Minerva - An Internet Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):54-82.
Death as a Social Harm.Lori Gruen - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1):53-65.
Death's Shadow Lightened.Daniel Rubio - forthcoming - In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Non-existence. Oxford, UK:
How Does Death Harm the Deceased?Taylor W. Cyr - 2017 - In John K. Davis (ed.), Ethics at the End of Life: New Issues and Arguments. New York: Routledge. pp. 29-46.
Epicurus and the Harm of Death.William Grey - 1999 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):358 – 364.
Can Death Be a Harm to the Person Who Dies?W. Glannon - 2004 - Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (6):e3-e3.
Accounting for the Harm of Death.Duncan Purves - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (1):89-112.
Mortal Harm.Steven Luper - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (227):239–251.
The Time of Death's Badness.J. Johansson - 2012 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (5):464-479.


Added to PP index

Total views
139 ( #82,975 of 2,498,943 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
32 ( #27,369 of 2,498,943 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes