Socrates and Epicurus - Live Life Without Fear of Death Essay

Socrates and Epicurus - Live Life Without Fear of Death Essay

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Many people seem to fear death, but philosophers such as Socrates and Epicurus would argue that one has no reason to fear it. Socrates sees death as a blessing to be wished for if death is either nothingness or a relocation of the soul, whereas Epicurus argues that one shouldn't worry themselves about death since, once we are gone, death is annihilation which is neither good nor bad. Epicurus believes that death itself is a total lack of perception, wherein there is no pleasure or pain. I agree with Epicurus because Socrates doesn't give a sound argument for death as a blessing, whereas Epicurus' argument is cogent. I would also argue personally that death is not something to be feared because, like Epicurus, I see no sufficient evidence showing we even exist after death.

Socrates argues that one shouldn't fear death because it is actually a blessing. His premises for this conclusion are as follows. First of all, either death is nothingness or a relocation of the soul. If death is nothingness, then it is a blessing. If death is a relocation of the soul, then it is a blessing. Therefore death is a blessing (Plato's Apology (1981) 40c-41c.) In examining this argument, it is valid because the premises do entail the conclusion. Socrates doesn't have to argue that death is nothingness or relocation. He simply had to show that if death is one or the other, it is a blessing.

In order for this argument to be sound, however, the premises need to be true. The first premise immediately comes in to question because it appears to be a false dilemma. Socrates is asserting in his argument that there are only two avenues death might take, when in fact there could be other possibilities. For instance, couldn't death be an eternity of sta...

... middle of paper ...

...nd void, the soul is a material thing that ceases to exist when the body dies. So I don't fear death since I will just simply cease to exist.

Being able to live life without fear of death would vastly improve people's dispositions. I think we all should take a cue from Epicurus' argument and seize the day, rather than wasting our time on irrational fears.

Works Cited

Epicurus. The Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1994. Translated and Edited by Brad Inwood and L.P. Gerson.

Lucretius. The Way Things Are. Indiana University Press, 1969. Translated by Rolfe Humphries.

Plato. The Apology. Hackett Publishing Company, 1981. Translated by G.M.A. Grube.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 2nd ed. Vol. C. Ed. Sarah Lawall. New York: Norton, 2005. Print. 

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