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Unformatted text preview: BIOETHICS: FINAL EXAM STUDY NOTES DEATH • As we mature , we come to recognize our mortality • What should we make of it for ourselves ? • Does it harm or bene¡t us? (Dworkin calls this the “ personal value ” of a life.) Lucretius • Roman philosopher, c. 98-55 BC • famous philosophical poem, de Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) • Follower of Epicurus , c. 341-271 BC • Holds that “ death is nothing to us ” • When you are , death isn’t ; when death is , you aren’t • Death is neither good nor bad for you • You shouldn’t fear or welcome death • reduce your needs, do not search for luxury but ¡nd pleasure in the world around you • the mistake that we make, it projecting ourselves into this period of non-existence The Soul According to Lucretius - there is a soul, but it is not individualized - afterlife is not connected to you: many problems persist with the idea of immortal soul Lucretius’s Main Argument (i) Only things that you experience can harm or bene¡t you (ii) You can only experience something when you exist (iii) You do not exist when you are dead (iv) Death does not harm or bene¡t you. Lucretius’s Subsidiary Argument (a) Your pre-natal non-existence neither harms nor bene¡ts you. (b) There is no difference in kind between pre- natal and posthumous non- existence (c)Your posthumous non-existence –your death – neither harms nor bene¡ts you. So : fear or welcoming of death results merely from the confused supposition of an afterlife , or of continued experience when one is a corpse . Problems? • Overlooks directionality of time- time moves forward , not backward - not think so much in terms of building a life across the different moments, but think of living life moment by moment , so the directionality of time does not matter as much 1 • Can welcome or fear the cessation of a bad or good experience as well as the occurrence of it • Maybe people fear dying , not death - dying has become a challenge- it has become thoroughly medicinal • Religious commitments to life after death Epicureans - Death is nothing to us because we do not experience it - But we think that some deaths , e.g. that of a person in irremediable pain, do not harm them Challenges: (1) Can you be harmed by something you don’t experience ? (2) Who is harmed by death, given that you no longer exist to be harmed? When are you harmed? (3) If our posthumous non-existence harms us, why does our pre-natal non-existence not also harm us? Thomas Nagel and Dworkin Argues against the Epicureans that death is always a harm to the one who suffers it The Aristotelian Point - concerned not only with experiences, but with meaning- we lead our lives, we don’t just experience them - how our experiences add up , if you are doing something worthwhile - we don’t just take a “ happy pill ” Two Kinds of Harms - Meaningfulness harm and Experiential harm - Something can be both a m-harm and an e- harm : bad experience , can no longer Fnd...
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- Fall '10
- Meaning of life, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms