Death is nothing

Topics: Mind, Ontology, Soul Pages: 10 (3373 words) Published: October 22, 2014

I will explain why death is not an experience that should be feared. Fear of death affects lives in a negative manner. For example, the act of carrying a firearm for self defensive purposes actually increases the likelihood of being shot. I assume death is a state of non existence, with no consciousness. The soul is material and dies with a person.

Epicurus as an empiricist, he made use of his senses to form judgements about the world around him. "Get used to believing that death is nothing to us. For all good and bad consists in sense experience, and death is the privation of sense experience.” Epicurus contends that the nature of death is that of annihilation. The living cannot experience annihilation, since experiencing annihilation is death. Death is not harmful for the living. An experience can not be bad for a person if they don't exist. A person who experiences frequent pain from a permanent injury, will not feel pain or any discomfort. The dead do not exist. Consequently, death is not harmful for living people nor the the dead.

Epicurus believed that the soul provided locomotion to the body as well as created facial expressions and the like. Here is a simplified materialistic argument that lends credence towards this claim. The soul and body can causally interact if souls are material. Soul and body do causally interact. Therefore, souls are material.Epicurus thought an argument claiming the soul was immaterial, or as he said: “incorporeal,” made little sense because something that was of the void could neither act or be acted upon and the soul both acts and is acted upon (Letter to Herodotus, 67).

Soul is an argument for not fearing death. As people die they are without locomotion, their bodies decay and their bodies are devoid of warmth. The material soul must dissolve and disperse with death and leave the body frigid and cold. The body cannot hold itself together. Epicurus was an atomist, he would argue that all the elements, atoms, that make up the body are returned back into the world – including the atoms that comprised the soul. Fear of an afterlife of punishment and suffering are dissipated with the atoms of the soul. It is unreasonable for a person to dwell on death because it will have no effect on them once it is upon them.

A person in pain from an injury will not feel pain . If an individual is not in existence, there is nothing with qualities of value or harm that affects him. Following this, Epicurus asserts, a person that is dead cannot exist and is therefore not a person. It's irrational for this fear to cause a person pain now. This argument supports the idea that death is harmless. The anxiety that's attributed to death, is mistaken with dying. For example a person might fear death because they look to the excruciating pain of dying in a house fire, rather than what is the unaffected state of annihilation, wherein there is no harm.

A critic might respond to these arguments in several ways. For example, he could say that Epicurus' cavalier attitude towards death assumes an indifference to life. However this response fails, as it is an incorrect assumption. Living must be a state that is considered valuable.

The following considerations support the argument for precautions against death. Precautions against death are taken as being alive is a good. Secondly the precautions that are taken reduces the chance of a painful death, or worse, disfigurement and a life of suffering debilitating injuries. Another critic could claim that Epicurus' claims presuppose indifference to murder. This fails, one person shouldn't be able to end the good of another. Furthermore, the murder might inflict pain and suffering to the deceased's families who must live with their loss. Thus, Epicurus' death argument is sound.

A critic such as Thomas Nagel might respond to these claims laid out by arguing that, non-existence after death is different. This passage...
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