On 28 January, Alex Moran (University of Oxford) delivered a talk entitled "On the Evil of Death" at the Humane Philosophy Project's London series, organised in association with the University of Buckingham.
Time: 6:00pm-7:15pm followed by a wine reception
Venue: Humanities Research Institute, 51 Gower Street, London
Abstract : It seems manifest that death is a form of evil: to die is to suffer a harm. One's loved ones may be harmed as well; but death is intrinsically bad for oneself, not just for those one is connected to. Yet an argument that traces back at least to Epicurus seems to show that this is not the case. We rely on two simple premises. On the one hand, something would seem to be harmful to you (to constitute an evil for you) only if you're there to experience it. On the other, when you're dead, you can't experience anything at all. So it seems to follow that being dead cannot be harmful; it cannot be an evil to you. Two very plausible premises; a valid argument; a seemingly absurd conclusion. How are we to proceed? The talk will try to make some progress with this question. Perhaps we won't find the answer; but we may at least bring some plausible answers into view. And in philosophy this is often the most that we can ask.
Alex Moran is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in philosophy at the University of Oxford. His PhD research at the University of Cambridge investigated the nature of perception. His current research continues to focus on perception, as well as traditional problems about consciousness. He also writes about various topics in contemporary metaphysics and has interests in aspects of early modern philosophy, early analytic philosophy, and metaethics.