Position Paper Essay Example

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Position Paper 5

Why We Should Not Fear Being DeadRunning Header:

Why We Should Not Fear Being Dead

Epicurus claimed that the moment we are dead we don’t exist and if we do not exist then we do not exist to experience it. Therefore, death is not an experience to fear at any point in life. This essay aims to support Epicurus that living people should not fear death. We are always distressed by the death of those we love. This is a natural being trait. This emotion is deeply entrenched in our hearts and therefore we grieve the loss of those we loved during their funeral. As a result death is frequent topic that brings frequent anxiety and speculations. At the time when Epicurus was living and sharing his life with others this was still the case. Epicurus claimed that we are not supposed to be afraid of dying since death does not matter to us when we are living (49). He also claimed that when we are dead we do not exist. People fear death for many reasons; they are frightened not to have accomplished certain things while they are living, they fear being punished by gods, fear of not existing, the pain of dying and also not knowing what to expect when one dies among others.The thought of death provokes a whole array of feelings.

With dissipated atoms of the soul, any fears concerning eternal afterlives of punishment and dissatisfaction. Epicurus therefore finds it hard to see why people should fear death.Among the powerful arguments that Epicurus puts across is believe that soul is mortal and material. As a pragmatist, he relied on his senses to give him the information he used to make evaluations and conclusions about the humanity around him. Epicurus believed in soul, and also believed that the soul provided movement to the body. He also believed soul created facial expressions. The soul must have material to do all this. He argued that soul and body can interact if souls are material. Since soul and body do interact the conclusion is that soul is material. This materialistic view of the soul made Epicurus to come up with his most insightful argument for not fearing death. If soul would also die when the body died then, there is no reason for fearing death since we shall not exist to experience it. Again, Epicurus relied on his senses to provide him with understanding of the world and make conclusions from it about the soul. When people die, they no longer move and their warmth move out of their bodies. The material soul must spread out with death and leave the dead body cold and no longer cling to it. Being atomist, Epicurus argued that all elements, atoms, of the dead body and the soul are dispersed back into the world once a person dies. This eliminates the likelihood of sense-perception, since the soul only has way in to sense perceptions while it is contained by the body and through the body it has access to organs that sense. Emotional response is impossible for disembodied soul due to the same reasons and therefore death is not pain in both capacities.

People have different arguments on whether or not we should fear death. Some would argue that being inexistence means missing out important things in life or experiencing pleasure. Others may argue that the end of a good life does not mean end of good things. I would support Epicurus and argue from his previous argument that we would not experience being inexistence and further claim that we should not be frightened by some pain we shall not experience.


It does not appear that a person can make conditional or qualify nonexistence. It is not as if non-existing will have memories or feelings which will make them recall things from life which it will no longer be experiencing. Epicurus would react to this case by saying that we do not stay alive to experience the deficiency of living and hence could not be concerned by it. The argument point is whether it is based on reason to be afraid of an occurrence or time that we will not witness. Some nervousness about the future can make someone have the will to be good to others, but to dread things in future that we will not experience and things which may never happen is completely irrational. To fear death is like to fear something that will happen one million years from now.

Work Cited

Cooper, E. Ethics: The Classic Reading. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998.