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Emotional rationality and the fear of death

Kristen A Hine, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In this dissertation I discuss emotional rationality generally, and the fear of death specifically. I argue that the intentionality of emotion is one source of difficulty for philosophers who defend the view that the fear of death is irrational. I suggest that since there are several things we can fear when we fear death, the acceptability of some arguments will vary depending on the objects the arguments presuppose. I also argue that philosophers (contemporary and historical) often employed inappropriate conceptions of emotional rationality. If the conceptual framework in which these philosophers were working is unacceptable, then perhaps their arguments are unacceptable as well. I ultimately develop a view of emotional rationality that takes its inspiration from externalist accounts of belief justification. I try to show that, even if the fear of death (as the fear of death's deprivations) is not a "true" emotion, it is nonetheless justified.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Hine, Kristen A, "Emotional rationality and the fear of death" (2007). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3254922.