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Is Death bad? (redoing)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,090 times Debate No: 27984
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Redoing this argument due to an issue with the time limit.
Due to an assignment, I as a student will do my best in order to support the claim that Death is bad. Whether or not I personally believe that to be the case is irrelevant.

My premise is that "Death is bad".

The reason I am supporting this argument is due to mainly two things. The first one have something to do with what Nagel stated about Death. For Nagel, he stated that Death is bad for it is a type of deprivation. We as a living-being experience many things in this world we know as life. The things we hold close to or as I like to refer as "attachments" are things that would cause anyone to view Death as an evil entity.

Death in this cause would be "the loss of a life" and this loss would include but not limited to the following:
loss of one's future
loss of one's pleasures
loss of one's value

The second thing would be the suffering that comes with Death.
The first case would be with the victim before he/she is dead.
The second case would be with the victim's associates (friends, family, etc...), that would experience grief due to the victim's death.

In order to further my point, if a unknown man came up to someone who is about to die or in the process of dying, and offer that someone with an additional five more years to life. That someone who is accustomed to live and only knows things through empirical and rational means would most likely pick to live five more years.

Being that is the case, then they would have to view Death as something unfavorable. Supporting the concept that "Death is Bad".


My premise is that Death is Not Bad and I would dispute your reasoning.
While Nagel does state that death is the deprivation of life, he also further states that "It is often said that those who object to death have made the MISTAKE of trying to imagine what it is like to be dead". Therefore, since we cannot know what death is like, there is no rational way of knowing that it is inevitably bad. That is like saying you do not like something without trying it or tasting it. We have no knowledge, no experience, no research, no anything about death, so why is it that we can state that it is bad " we cannot. We do not know. So therefore, if death is what Nagel implies, and just the "deprivation of life", then life albeit which is inclusive of both good and bad experiences; painful and non-painful moments; happy and sad moments " then wouldn"t death be the deprivation of all those negative and positive reactions and feelings. Life is not all good, there are bad days, feelings, moments so therefore, death cannot be all bad, if bad at all, if it simply is the deprivation of life.

If Death is simply the "loss of life" then this loss as stated in my counterparts arguments would yes be the loss of the following:

Loss of one"s future;
Loss of one"s pleasures;
Loss of one"s values;

However, it would ALSO BE THE LOSS OF THE FOLLOWING which is inclusive in one"s life;
Loss of one"s suffering;
Loss of one"s pain;
Loss of one"s anxiety;
Loss of one"s FEAR;

So I ask, why then is Death Bad.
In furtherance, there is no pain in death. Death and dying are two distinct separate entities in and of themselves. The pain, if indeed involved, would be in the process of dying, not in the final act of Death. So Death would then not be bad and would in actuality be the good that actually comes from the dying process if the person was in a painful course. SO in all actuality Death in that particular sense would be not only Good but welcomed as to prevent the person from enduring any more pain and suffering from the dying.

In response to your scenario about asking someone if they would rather live longer or encounter death - I do not believe that is an accurate accounting to evaluate whether or not Death is Good or Bad since as human beings we are creatures of habit and apt to stick with what we know. Since we usually harbor within the Fear of the Unknown, and Death is the Ultimate Unknown and most humans cower from the unknown, all are likely to choose the familiar and common path " which in your scenario would be life.
Debate Round No. 1


Although you modify your original argument, the problem is quite the same.

Here are your premises:

"there is no pain in death"
"Death and dying are two distinct separate entities"
"Death is good if pain is involved when in the process of dying"
"Death is the Ultimate Unknown"

To begin with, if you are to consider all of these premises as absolute truth, you would already notice that these premises are inconsistent together (or at the same time).

The problem being that near the end of your argument, you stated that Death is unknowable/or that knowledge/information is unattainable. Yet those that came before imply that there are things we are able to know about Death. That:

"there is no pain in death"
"Death and dying are two distinct separate entities
"Death is good if pain is involved when in the process of dying"

Death to be:
Loss of one's suffering;
Loss of one's pain;
Loss of one's anxiety
Loss of one's Fear'

The fact that your argument is inconsistent already cause it to not be able to stand on its own. Furthermore, about the case where pain in dying cause Death to be good. It"s not a solid point to prove that Death is NOT bad because one would be able to counter-argue that by simply stating that if what you said is true, then Death is bad if no pain is present in dying.

In conclusion, if one were to rephrase your argument to it simplicity, it would probably be like this (if not similar):

Although we are unable to know anything about Death, we know that Death is et cetera ...(those that you stated about Death). This can be used in order to comfort someone to a degree but when suggesting it to be a form of truth is absurd.


Apparently, you have confused the fact that albeit Death is unknown as being a state beyond that of known living, there lies the fact that the only absolute about Death is that it is the actual "loss of life", making my deductions correct and not making them inconsistent at all in any sense. This would further conclude that the assumption of Death as a Badness would not only be speculation which ascends from human fear, but make the fact that Death is Bad as being capriciously produced from fallacies.

Macquarrie and Mora have both quoted one thing, that "death is not an event of life" thereby substantiating the only capable proven fact about death " that death is not life, thereby being that death is the loss of life, the lack of life, or however you would like to state it in no uncertain terms.

I"m still unclear as to where any of my arguments are inconsistent or how you go to the point that if there wasn"t pain involved in dying then that would inadvertently make death bad? That would be like saying if someone died in their sleep without feeling any pain that justifies that death would then be bad and not be a considered good as I have stated in my argument. I have just given instances in where death can be seen or viewed as good, as when someone is experiencing pain during the process of dying. Yet, if a person is not experiencing pain during this process of dying and just happens to die it doesn"t make the finality of Death automatically bad because the person didn"t experience pain. That is not my point. My point is that Death is not a negative act nor should not be viewed as an adverse event regardless of the circumstances. Death is a natural occurrence, a natural cyclic event that transpires in everyone"s existence. Death is not bad, it is natural and occurs as a natural and normal part of cyclical events of the laws of nature. The Badness of Death is a creation of man's fear of the unknown which is created within his/her own psyche.
Debate Round No. 2


Alright, I can see where you made the error when attempting to understand my argument. Are you familiar with the term "via negativa"? If not, it's a method of describing something by stating what it is not.

In you're previous arguments, you stated what Death is. Being the loss or the non-being of the following:

one's suffering;
one's pain;
one's anxiety;
one's Fear;

By doing so, you are informing me that Death, which you stated as "the Ultimate Unknown", being known by what it is not or "the loss of". When one hears "the Ultimate Unknown", it is suggested that we are unable to know "nothing" but it but since we apparently know something about Death, it would be the case that Death is not the "Ultimate Unknown".

Then the case of the pain being present or not in dying as the indicator of Death being Good or Bad. That's just it, what I originally intended to state is whether or not Pain should be the indicator of Good and Bad. In your case, if pain were present during the course of dying, then Death good. Is that really the case? In order to prove that wrong, I have to at least identify a case where pain does not seemly indicate that Death is good.

Here's my case, I am terminally ill and am facing my last years of life. I then begin to work out in order to fight off my illness. During my workout, I felt such intense pain but that only cause me to continue even more for pain would indicate that I'm still alive. Although I am suffering, because I am suffering I know I am alive. Because I'm still alive, would indicate I chosen life over death and view death as non-preferable. Pain would not indicate Death as something good. (In this case, it would indicate Death as bad but that besides the point)
Then this statement would be fallible...

"SO in all actuality Death in that particular sense would be not only Good but welcomed as to prevent the person from enduring any more pain and suffering from the dying."

Since not every case that a person is suffering would indicate that Death is Good.

Although you have not directly indicate that Death is good, you haven't indicate that Death is a concept that Good or Bad does not apply until your current argument. You now bring about the case of "What something is" and "What something should be" when dealing with Death.

You state that Death is a natural occurring event. Besides being something to know about Death, you are implying that Death is not good or bad, but rather something that occurs without involvement of humankind. Nature seems to cause us humans to die due to the limitations it set upon us. We should not be bother by what nature set for us and just leave it as that. This may as well turn into a case of Determinism vs. Freewill but for the sake of this argument, let imagine a world where Death is not a naturally occurring event.

We would live in a world where Death is consider abnormal. We as humans evolve to the point where nothing of this world would do no harm to us and are able to live for a indefinite amount of time. Now as I mention, death is not natural but does not mean it is impossible since we already go against nature wishes. Cloning and genetic manipulating being perfect examples.

In order to kill a human in that world, it would require a weapon not of that world. For example, if the world where human don't natural die were to be called World Z, and our current world being World B, then an item in World B would be able to kill a human in World Z. The point of this case is to indicate the possibility of a time when we as human are able to live for an indefinite amount of time due to advancement in technology as well as human evolution. Since Death is eventually not natural, the debate of whether it is Good or Bad persist because in order for something to be truth, it have to eternal(timeless).


It"s interesting that you would associate "via Negativa" in a debate on Death since it is systematically used in terms of religion, most commonly by Aquinas when he describes ways to coming to an understanding of God (to me another "unknown"), since you admire my use of the unknown. Death and religion seem to be two issues that go hand in hand and if you"d like to focus on via negative theory in order to do so or to further confirm my argument of why death is good by proving it is not bad then we can do that.
Both ways, the argument and rationale stands, death is not bad and there is no evidence to the contrary. If you can assert concrete evidence of such, then maybe, just maybe, considering you"ve given no examples, and no appeal to any type of authority, besides your for instance examples and out of reach hypotheses, will I possibly look at the fact that there may be some sort of persuasion in your argument to go against the fact that DEATH IS NOT BAD.
In a literary sense, to respond to your commentary on playing word schematics, unless there is something else in which human fixate on and have little to no knowledge on other than the "nothingness", which that even is in question, since who is to say that death is nothing? Then there"s the debate of if there is afterlife and if so, then death is NOT "nothing" so even the fact of "nothing" is unknown. What I did say is that death is the loss of life, that is known, so still with that being the only concrete solid foundation for death then yes it still qualifies as the ULTIMATE UNKNOWN, ultimate meaning and you can chose whichever definition suits you best, since they all work so well within the definition:
-Being most distant or remote; farthest.
-The basic or fundamental fact, element, or principle.
-The final point; the conclusion.
-the greatest extreme; the maximum:

So yes, me describing death as the ULTIMATE UNKNOWN, seems to be a pretty accurate description of such an event, wouldn"t you say?

Your confusion with the pain scenario is just a mixing of insignificant data that really has no bearing on any context of my argument. It is insignificant. I am still awaiting discussion on why Death is Bad, and have yet to hear any talk to that nature, nor have I even read or heard why life would be preferable over death or even why life is good and death is bad or anything of the sort.

My argument is clear. Death is not bad. There is nothing that you have indicated that is to the contrary.
Even the grandest philosophers agree " Socrates stated when facing his own death in not so many words told his friends that " it might be annihilation, in which it is like a long, dreamless slumber; or it might be a migration of the soul from one place to another" Either way it is nothing to be feared.
Bernard Williams noticed that age of death also is inconsequential in that the amount of time you are around to enjoy goods of life doesn"t necessarily reduce the eternity of your death. The only way that age would matter when you"re dead if there is something "bad" or "undesirable" about being dead. Therefore, age at time of death really only is taken into account in relation to one"s life and not one"s death " this proving that death is not bad.. We don"t go around saying when someone dies at a young age " "Oh My God, this is horrible their Death is Going to be sooooooooooooooo Long and Soooooooooooooooooo BAD! " - no we say " How horrible that they only lived such a short life"..etc. etc." the loss is from life, the mourning is from life, NOT FROM THE BADNESS OF DEATH" No one is crying because the person is going to be tortured or have a horrible bad experience now that they are dead. No one is up for sleepless nights and years concerned with the experiences that the dead are going through because it is so bad. No, most are comforted that the person is dead, after their initial mourning cycle and they have their own individual reasoning for such comfort " this comfort is because they believe DEATH IS NOT BAD. End of story".
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bergeneric63 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good job but you could have went into more detail but seeing that it was not needed I applaud you. Interesting some of your points were pro...