Can We Measure the Harm of Death
Thomas Schramme (Universität Hamburg, University of Liverpool)

part of: Royal Institute of Philosophy Annual Conference: Meaning in Life and the Knowledge of Death
July 15, 2021, 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

United Kingdom

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  • Royal Institute of Philosophy


University of Liverpool

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I aim to show that the common idea according to which we can assess the badness of death in personal terms, that is, in terms of how bad death is for the person who dies, relies on numerous dubious premises. We cannot measure the badness of death for the person who dies. I will make explicit certain assumptions that pertain to the alleged level of badness of death, for instance when it is asserted that death is worse for a child than for an old person. The most important assumption I will address is the assignment of a quantitative value of zero to death, which leads to the conclusion that there are lives not worth living.

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