Epicurean wills, empty hopes, and the problem of post mortem concern
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Many Epicurean arguments for the claim that death is nothing to us depend on the ‘Experience Constraint’: the claim that something can only be good or bad for us if we experience it. However, Epicurus’ commitment to the Experience Constraint makes his attitude to will-writing puzzling. How can someone who accepts the Experience Constraint be motivated to bring about post mortem outcomes? We might think that an Epicurean will-writer could be pleased by the thought of his/her loved ones being provided for after his/her death. Warren has argued that this does not dissolve the puzzle, since it involves a hope which the Epicurean should take to be empty just as the fear of death is empty. However, if it is a necessary condition of an emotion’s being empty that it involve accepting a claim which is not only false but also harmful it is not clear that this hope is indeed ‘empty’: there is a crucial disanalogy between fearing death and hoping for the prosperity of one’s children here. And if emptiness does not require harmfuless, an Epicurean has no need to rid themselves of the emotion. © 2016 The Editorial Board, Philosophical Papers.