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Final

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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHL281H1
Professor
Donald Ainslie
Study Guide
Final

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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
oLeading our lives in attempt to find meaning by undertaking projects
oSubjects 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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We often need to know a persons history to determine whether something is a
misfortune or not
Loss, betrayal and deception are bad because people suffer when they learn of
them
If someone has a brain injury reducing him to the state of a child, then many
would say that is a misfortune to not only his family and society, but also for the
person himself- if we consider the person he was and the person he could be now,
then it is a misfortune
We pity someone who dies because if they hadnt they would still be living and
would possess whatever good there is in living
Death is an m-harm no matter when it happens
Pre-natal non-existence is an m-harm in that you do not exist yet
Ronald Dworkin- The meaning of death
Deaths central horror is oblivion- it is not only the start of nothing, but the end of
everything
We put emphasis on dying with dignity which shows that we believe life should
end appropriately
We want to do something with our lives; to leave the world a better place for using
having been in it
oFor some it may be to invent or discover something marvelous or create
music, but for others it may to be part of a team or have a family
Two different kinds of reasons people have for wanting their lives to go one way
rather than another: experiential interests and critical interests
Experiential interests are what people do because they like the experience of
doing them ex. Football, cooking, travelling, etc. pleasures like these are essential
for a good life
Critical interests are what make peoples lives genuinely better ex. Close
friendships, loving family, etc
It is natural for us to put ourselves in the way of pleasure and out of the way of
pain
We are indifferent about pain we suffer in the dentists’ chair one the pain is in the
past
A persons’ critical interests seem to depend on their personality and seem to be
subjective
Two skeptical attack rakes: external and internal skepticism
Our attitudes of our lives are structured by two processes: divine/biological [yields
our experiences] and human/cultural
Death is not an m-harm when it ends great and irremediable suffering or if it ends
all of these:
oA complete life
oThe one dying is ready for death
oThe one dying thinks they have had a meaningful life
www.notesolution.com
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