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Philosophical Views on Death


Human beings have always appreciated the importance of applying philosophical concepts to questions that are ethical and metaphysical in nature. This paper seeks to explain why death is bad for the dead person because he or she will be unable to experience the good things associated with life or pursue his or her goals diligently.

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Is Death Bad for the Dead Person Himself?

Death is one of the natural processes that all living creatures have to go through. It might even occur when one organism is killed by another. While many people acknowledge that death would be a bad thing for those who lose their beloved ones, the question of whether it is appropriate or inappropriate for the targeted victim still remains controversial (Kamm 13). This dilemma has encouraged many scholars and philosophers to present evidence-based ideas and supportive explanations to address it.

Personally, I would argue that death is bad for those who die because it makes it impossible for them to enjoy the pleasures of life. Some will experience such a process prematurely and be unable to achieve their maximum potential. When it occurs to a small child, the reality is that the victim will have lost all good things that could have happened to him or her in life. The painful process of dying itself is yet another outstanding reason why it would be bad for the person who goes through it (Nagel 78). The untimely nature of the death also makes it a bad experience that makes it impossible for people to pursue their goals or complete their missions as they had initially planned. The outstanding argument is that death will always be bad for the dead person themselves.

Divergent Positions

Different thinkers and philosophers have presented divergent views regarding the goodness or badness of death for the person who dies. For instance, Kamm indicates that death is bad since “it is associated with a painful process of dying, because it suggests the possibility of a bad afterlife” (13). Thomas Nagel examines the same issue by viewing death as something bad. He believes that such a process will force an individual who dies to experience “fewer of the goods of life than he might otherwise have had” (Kamm 14). These scholars go further to reveal that death would worsen person’s individual state and even affect the natural process and experience they might have gone through if they did not die.

Nagel offers additional arguments that can make it possible for more analysts to have a concrete answer to this question. He believes that all human beings are introduced to this world after which they become subjects of life (Nagel 80). When death occurs, it becomes a sudden cancelation of all the imaginable and extensive goods that such a person could have experienced. When one dies earlier, he or she will be unable to have such positive experiences (Nagel 80). From this kind of knowledge, it becomes clear that all individuals should expect a bad end that will eventually occur in their lives.

Both Kamm and Nagel are convinced that human beings possess a gift of life that is capable of exposing good things and experiences to them. Those who make wise decisions and remain focused will have additional challenges of experiencing good things. Without death, people would find it easier to experience greatness and help others achieve their aims (Nagel 30). Unfortunately, its occurrence makes the dead person incapable of experiencing such good things. These arguments and viewpoints explain why death, according to these philosophers and thinkers, is bad for the individual who dies.

Epicurus is another great philosopher whose ideas remain timeless and worth analyzing. For instance, he views pleasure as the kindred and first good that all people need to consider (Epicurus 13). With such an idea, individuals will have a background to avoid any danger and pursue good choices in life. They will make such a feeling the primary “rule by which to judge of every good thing” (Epicurus 13). According to Epicurus, it would be inappropriate for individuals to fear death. The argument he presents is that it is associated with pain and even makes more individuals restless. Those whose view it differently, according to this thinker, would be foolish.

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Epicurus believes that people need to embrace a new form of thought that guides and encourages them to appreciate death as nothing to them. Instead, they will realize that such a process will make it easier for them to escape all sentience (Epicurus 12). It becomes quite clear that death is good to the individual who dies because “it makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life a limitless time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality” (Epicurus 12). This kind of wisdom will make it possible for more people to lead their lives pleasantly and do not experience the fear the death.

Objections and Rebuttal

As described in the above personal position, it is evident that a person who dies is at a loss and will miss all the opportunities that would have store for him or her. This argument appears to benefit from the philosophical concepts that Kamm and Hagel present in their works. However, some analysts would be opposed to such a position by presenting unique ideas that identify death as a good thing. For example, Epicurus relies on the field of hedonism to explain how and why death would always be good to the victim because it puts an end to all bad things and all forms of immorality. The outstanding message he presents to support such an idea is that a person who has not died will not have any form of harm (Epicurus 13). Similarly, there will be no victim following the death of the identified individual. With this kind of knowledge, many people have continued to explain why death is not bad to the person who dies.

However, the whole concept of hedonism is worth challenging since pleasure should not be the only objective of living. Analysts should appreciate the idea that death is a painful process that makes it impossible for many victims to pursue their aims. Such a process will deprive the victim of his or her further life and be unable to achieve the goals originally formulated (Nagel 79). The intrinsically good experiences and achievements will no longer be available to the person who had died.


Unlike Epicurus, Nagel and Kamm offer evidence-based thoughts that readers can consider to understand the nature of death. In conclusion, people need to identify death as bad for the victim because he or she will be unable to experience the good things associated with life and pursue the formulated goals diligently.

Works Cited

Epicurus. “Letter to Menoeceus.” Lecture.

Kamm, F. M. Death: From Worse to Bad. Oxford University Press, 1993.

Nagel, Thomas. “Death.” Noûs, vol. 4, no. 1, 1970, pp. 73-80.

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