Dissolving Death’s Time-of-Harm Problem

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (2):405-418 (2022)
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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.



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Travis Timmerman
Seton Hall University

Citations of this work

When is Death Bad, When it is Bad?John Martin Fischer - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):2003-2017.
Responding to the Timing Argument.Karl Ekendahl - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (4):753-771.

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