Philosophy: The Death Assignment

 Purpose:  The purpose of this assignment is to give you practice in identifying arguments in a text, reconstructing them in your own words, and judging whether they are good or bad (Identify, reconstruct and evaluation arguments posed by philosophers) and to have you think about the philosopher Thomas Nagel, his times and methods (Identify a variety of ancient, modern and/or contemporary philosophers: Identify (A.)a variety of ancient philosophers (B.)Identify a variety of modern philosophers (C.)Identify a variety of contemporary philosophers). In doing this assignment, you will be practicing the skills necessary to identify a change in a topic in a debate, identify the correct response-reply pairs and, as always, think critically about new and interesting views.  Task: In Death, Nagel gives us replies to three objections to the stance that death is, in fact, evil. These objections are:  1. Can anything be bad for a person if it is not unpleasant to them? That is, are there any evils which are just merely the missing out on something? 1. In other words, for something to be bad for a person, they have to experience it. When we are dead, we aren’t experiencing anything, as it can’t be bad for us. 2. When we are dead, we don’t experience anything, there is no subject of the experience, so can we say that anything is good or bad for a person when they don’t exist? (and are not a fiction) 1. In other words, without experience, there is nothing good or bad, so death can’t be bad (or good) for the dead person. 3. Why is there a difference between nonexistence prior to birth and nonexistence after birth? We say that one ceasing to exist is bad but one never existing is neither. 1. Before we are born, we don’t exist, and after death, we don’t exist. There is no real difference between the two and yet Nagel claims that one is bad and the other is neither. For each of these Nagel defends his stance with an argument (one for each). Your task is to write a short paper (2-3 pages) explaining and evaluating one of these arguments. You need to:  1. Cite where you got your ideas/information (if they are not originally yours), not is a form of plagiarism 2. Explain the objection to Nagel’s stance 3. Explain the reply Nagel gives 4. Say whether you liked the reply and why Each of these should take you around a paragraph to answer. Each of them is worth 5pts. Since this is worth 20pts, this is worth 5% of your total grade.  Submission:  To submit this assignment, I only accept .pdf, .doc, .odt, and .docx. I do not accept .pages. You can find where to submit in the upper right of this screen. As for all assignments in this class, the standard is Times New Roman, 12pt font, double spaced, 2-3 pages (that is, at least a few words onto the second page to the bottom of the third). 

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