Cookies Policy
Cookie Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Lucretius, Symmetry arguments, and fearing death

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

Buy this article

$30.00+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites

image of Phronesis

This paper identifies two possible versions of the Epicurean 'Symmetry argument', both of which claim that post mortem non-existence is relevantly like prenatal non-existence and that therefore our attitude to the former should be the same as that towards the latter. One version addresses the fear of the state of being dead by making it equivalent to the state of not yet being born; the other addresses the prospective fear of dying by relating it to our present retrospective attitude to the time before birth. I argue that only the first of these is present in the relevant sections of Lucretius (DRN 3.832-42, 972-5). Therefore, this argument is not aimed at a prospective fear of death, or a fear of 'mortality'. That particular fear is instead addressed by the Epicureans through the additional premise (found in the Letter to Menoeceus 125) that it is irrational to fear in prospect an event which is known to be painless when present. This still leaves unaddressed the related fear of 'premature death', which is to be removed through the acceptance of Epicurean hedonism.


Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to email alerts
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Phronesis — Recommend this title to your library

    Thank you

    Your recommendation has been sent to your librarian.

  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation