Bradley, Ben. Well-Being and Death.
MetadataShow full item record
Many philosophers writing about death have adopted a strikingly cheery and optimistic tone. Their goal has been to show us that, though we may lack immortal souls, we should still regard the oblivion hurtling toward us with a calm and steady eye. Some of these philosophers have tried to convince us that nonexistence is not so dreadful a thing. The Epicureans invoked a variety of ingenious arguments to this conclusion, the most famous being this: it makes sense for you to fear death only if it is bad for you to be dead. But it is not bad for you to be dead. Your death is the end of you. After the event there is no you for things to be good or bad for. More recently, Bernard Williams (in “The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality,” in Problems of the Self [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973]) had a more nuanced argument: a finite life is not so bad when you consider the alternative, an infinite life. An infinite life either would become tedious to the point of having no value, or would involve so much psychological change that the vibrant existence of later incarnations of the infinite being would not satisfy any desire to survive on the part of earlier incarnations of the infinite being.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
University of Chicago Press
Hare, Caspar. “Bradley, Ben. Well-Being and Death .” Ethics vol. 121, no. 4, July 2011, pp. 797–799.
Final published version