Should We Fear Death? Epicurean and Modern Arguments 262 On that assumption, it seems rational to act as if we feared death. If we had the choice, we would even be prudent to ‘program’ ourselves to have some degree of subjective fear of death, in order to motivate ourselves to identify and under- take actions that will help us live longer. It does appear to me that some fear of death is a good thing. Later, however, I will ask how much fear of death we ought to have. None of this reasoning is sound unless being deprived of additional life is, indeed, a misfortune and there is a ready reply to that claim. Once again, our friends, the Epicureans, made it in antiquity. DO WE WANT ADDITIONAL LIFE? In De Rerum Natura, Lucretius argues that it is not bad to be deprived of additional life, since no one thinks it was bad not being alive, prior to the time we were born. We are not, he suggests, upset about not having been alive at the time of the Carthaginian wars (p151). [4] If missing out on addi- tional  life  after  our  deaths  is  a  misfortune,  what  about  all that life we missed out on before we were born? Of course, it is not rational to fear a misfortune that is already in the past. It is only rational to fear future events. However, an Epicurean  could  add,  past  misfortunes  are  surely  mat- ters for regret. Yet we do not even regret not being around in  the  days  when  the  Romans  fought  the  Carthaginians. Some attempts to answer this line of argument raise meta- physical issues about the nature of the self. Unfortunately, those issues–muchlikethosetodowiththeprevalenceintheUniverse of  determinism  or  fate  –  are  too  complex  to  resolve  here. For example, Nagel argues that it is not possible for us to have any sensations very long before we were born – certainly not