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Susanne Burri (LSE): “How Death is Bad for the Person Who Dies”

22 March 2016, 2:00 pm3:30 pm

Abstract: It is uncontroversial that a person’s death can be a terrible misfortune for other people. To lose someone you love can be an immensely painful and disruptive experience. But is there also a sense in which death can be bad for the person who dies? Most people intuitively think so. In the philosophical literature, the currently most favoured explanation of the badness of death is offered by the deprivation account. According to the deprivation account, a person’s death is bad for her just in case she would have led a better life had she not died when she did in fact die.

In this paper, I argue that while the deprivation account captures one way in which our own death can be bad for us, it is importantly incomplete. I contend that a person’s death can be bad for her not only when and because it deprives her of a better life, but also when and because it frustrates some of her plans and projects. I show that despite appearances to the contrary, the deprivation account is unable to adequately capture this  “agential” aspect of the badness of death. I thus put forward an agency-based account of the badness of death to complement the insights of the deprivation account.




22 March 2016
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method


LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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