Why Death On An Expiry Date Poses A Harm

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Harm Thesis 999198336 Ian Summers The question of whether death on an expiry date poses a harm to the one who dies has important ontological relevance concerning how we relate to death and including how death causes harm to us. I will argue that what matters for us with respect to life is mental continuity, and that an expiration date is only harmful in that it fails to cohere with our irrational tendency to project our current mortality beyond our own existence. In this paper I will first examine what it means to be harmed and appeal to the Epicurean notion of death to investigate in what sense an individual can be harmed by being in a state of death. Next I will use Nagel’s objections to the Epicurean notion of harmless death to understand how we may be harmed by projecting feelings about our own mortality. Finally, I will appeal to Lucretius’ argument that it is irrational to fear death and demonstrate that death can only harm us by virtue of our own irrational psychological orientation towards death. Firstly, I wish to restrict the definition of the term ‘harm’, to events that are bad for an individual. For this paper the notion of ‘bad’ can simply be understood as the intuitive hedonistic notion of pleasant versus unpleasant experiences. Furthermore, I insist that the principal thing we value with respect to sustaining our lives is cognitive continuity; which is understood to be the ability to have and retain experiences as well as project desires towards potential

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