The Good Death II: Virtue Ethics
Wed, Oct 28
Are some ways of dying better or worse than others? How should a rational person prepare for mortality? In this class we will consider arguments about whether death is in fact bad for us (the Epicureans thought not). And we will consider whether it is rational to want your life to extend infinitely.
By the end of this session:
- You will be able to explain how Lucretius and Socrates argue against the badness of death.
- You will understand how Nagel develops an account on which you're harmed by death even though you don't experience it.
- You will be able to articulate what role you think contemplation of death plays in the good life.
- You will understand how to finish someone else's apology, and will consider what it would mean to do so for a loved one.
Complete these steps before you come to class
Consider the following prompts (you may want to write responses to these in your journal or talk about them with a friend):
- Have you ever talked to someone about their impending death? If so, what did you learn?
- Do you anticipate having any "deathbed regrets"? (Or, put another way, if you were told you'd die tomorrow, would you regret how you've lived up until now?) How should we use such anticipated regrets in shaping our lives now?
- Optional: test yourself by taking a practice comprehension check.