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University of Toronto St. George
Donald Ainslie

BIOETHICS EXAM Lucretius The meaning of death Death is nothing to us and nothing affects us once we are dead Death is neither good or bad for you and you shouldnt fear it or welcome it Death is neither good or bad because we are not around to have it happen to us- something can only be good or bad as long as you experience it Main argument: only things you can experience can harm or benefit you, you can only experience something when you exist, you do not exist when you are dead, therefore death does not harm or benefit you But do you have to experience something in order to be harmed? Your pre-natal non-existence neither harms or benefits you no difference in kind between pre-natal and posthumous non-existence, therefore your death neither harms or benefits you But it may impact others since that person is no longer there Problems? We can fear that the good experiences will end, many of us fear dying, not death- because dying is brutal if it doesnt happen quickly, life after death [religion] After we die, suppose all our matter comes back and rearranges itself in the same way- the past selves wouldnt concern us now and our minds cannot remember it Unhappiness only happens to those who exist- those who dont are unaffected Thomas Nagel- The meaning of death Death is always a harm to the one that suffers it Aristotelian point: we live our lives striving for meaning and we are concerned about what kind of experiences we have Two kinds of harms: meaningfulness harm and experiential harms An example of both is ongoing pain Meaningfulness harms can occur after your dead like spending your whole life investing in something and having it not work out- youre harmed because you wasted your time and your life was not as meaningful as you thought Meaningfulness harms affect your life as a whole and not at a time Two sides of our nature- active and passive o Leading our lives in attempt to find meaning by undertaking projects o Subjects to experience, biology, accidents and fortune [things that happen to us] We consider being alive and doing certain things as good If death is an evil, it is the loss of life rather than the state of being dead Most of us would regard the temporary suspension of life a misfortune Many who object death have tried to envision what it would be like to be dead when this is logically impossible because there is nothing to imagine
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