Abstract

Through the ages, many thinkers have worried that our death fears mar our lives. Sharing this worry, the Epicureans have argued that we can live well only if we see death for what it is: a mere “nothing” that it is ill-fitting to fear. I show how this argument depends on the assumption that a mental state theory of well-being is correct. If we give up this assumption, it can be fitting to fear death. Using my philosophical discussion of when and how it is fitting to fear death, I formulate three strategies for keeping our death-related fears in check. In this way, my paper follows the therapeutic tradition in philosophy, whose potential I urge effective altruists to explore.

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