Volume 90, Issue 3, July 2013
Happiness and Well-Being
The Pleasure of Life and the Desire for Non-Existence
Some Medieval Theories
Are there subjective or objective conditions under which human life is not worth living? Or does human life itself contain the conditions that make it worth living?
To find answers to these questions, this paper explores Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Richard of Mediavilla, and John Duns Scotus, who discuss whether the damned in hell can, should, and do prefer non-existence over their existence in pain and moral evil. In light of Aristotle’s teaching that there is a certain pleasure inherent to life itself, I shall argue that even a life that is in important respects painful and unpleasant is still worth living.