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Episteme

Abstract

What should be said about the Thomas Nagel/O. H. Green interpretation of why people fear death? Since Nagel focuses only on the non-state of death (ignoring the state of dying), he concludes that it is the deprivation of life that people fear. Green, who shares with Nagel similar organizing thoughts, argues that a fear of loss of life is equivalent to the fear of death, since people really fear not living (any) longer. But this paper’s author sees more logic to Nagel’s position. But is Nagel correct? Has Nagel’s article on death wrongly brushed aside the legitimately rational idea that people fear death because they misunderstand what it is like to be dead? The author answers, Yes!, and imagines a scenario in which it is precisely the awareness of the logical impossibility of knowing what death is like that causes the feeling of a fearful mystery.

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