The Good Death

Wed, Apr 29

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:

  1. You will be able to explain the Lucretian symmetry argument.
  2. You will be able to explain a non-experiential harm and how Nagel uses this concept to argue for the deprivation account of the badness of death.
  3. You will be able to articulate what role you think contemplation of death plays in the good life.

Read This:


"Death" (Thomas Nagel)


"Why I Hope to Die at 75" (The Atlantic)


Do This:

Complete the following questions in your GGL Journal:

  1. Have you ever talked to someone about their impending death?  If so, what did you learn?
  2. Is there ever any value in the process of dying?  How might one or more thinkers from this class approach this question?
  3. Do we have moral or rational obligations to plan for how we will die?

Watch This: