Four-dimensionalism, eternalism, and deprivationist accounts of the evil of death

Synthese 199 (5-6):13643-13660 (2021)
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Four-dimensionalists think that we persist over time by having different temporal parts at each of the times at which we exist. Eternalists think that all times are equally real. Deprivationists think that death is an evil for the one who dies because it deprives them of something. I argue that four-dimensionalist eternalism, conjoined with a standard deprivationist account of the evil of death, has surprising implications for what we should think about the evil of death. In particular, given these assumptions, we will lack any grounds for thinking that death is an evil for some individuals for whom we would antecedently expect it to be an evil, namely those individuals who cease to exist at death. Alternatively, we will only have some grounds for thinking that death is an evil for certain individuals for whom we might antecedently be more inclined to think death is not an evil, namely those individuals who survive death, in the sense that they continue to exist after death.

Author's Profile

Andrew Brenner
Hong Kong Baptist University


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