A puzzle about death’s badness: Can death be bad for the paradise-bound?

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 80 (2):145-162 (2016)
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Since at least the time of Epicurus, philosophers have debated whether death could be bad for the one who has died, since death is a permanent experiential blank. But a different puzzle about death’s badness arises when we consider the death of a person who is paradise-bound. The first purpose of this paper is to develop this puzzle. The second purpose of this paper is to suggest and evaluate several potential attempts to solve the puzzle. After rejecting two seemingly attractive suggestions, I argue that there are two types of solution to the puzzle that can succeed. The first type of solution simply denies that death can be bad for the paradise-bound. I argue that the main worry for this type of solution, namely that it gives up the common-sense view about death’s badness, is only a prima facie worry. The second type of solution maintains that death can be bad for the paradise-bound because it can deprive her of certain goods, which allows those who are attracted to this type of solution to adopt the deprivation account of death’s badness. I consider three views of the relation between the paradise-bound and paradise that are consistent with the deprivation account, connecting my discussion of paradise with the extant literature on death’s badness.

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Taylor W. Cyr
Samford University


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