I enjoyed Larry Jost's review in NDPR of James Warren's Facing Death: Epicurus and his Critics.
Later I hope to post on the arguments of Warren's book directly. For now, here's an interesting thought from the review. Jost suggests (if I understand him correctly) that those who accept naturalism, but who wish also to adopt a 'metaphysical' outlook on life (not resting content simply to believe 'whatever natural science holds'), should take very seriously--perhaps they should even accept--the Epicurean approach to death.
Jost puts forward the idea in a footnote:
Frank Jackson characterizes serious metaphysics as the kind that takes its start from claims such as that "solidity is not an additional feature of reality over and above the way lattice-like arrays of molecules tend to repel each other . . . . By serious metaphysics, I mean metaphysics inspired by [this kind of example], metaphysics that acknowledges that we can do better than draw up big lists, that seeks comprehension in terms of a more or less limited number of ingredients, or anyway a smaller list than we started with . . . [It] is discriminatory at the same time as claiming to be complete, or complete with respect to some subject-matter . . . serious metaphysics means that there are inevitably a host of putative features of our world which we must either eliminate or locate." (From Metaphsics to Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 5 et passim). Eliminating the fear of death is surely the main Epicurean idea about death and locating in a naturalistic framework whatever is sensible in other fears associated with death its main contribution today. Warren's book as a whole well illustrates an ancient anticipation of what a serious metaphysics of death might look like today, one not met with readily in today's philosophy.Jost's last sentence is meant, I think, to raise a question: If there is a consilience between Epicureanism and naturalism, why is it that one finds little reflection that is Epicurean in character, and a lack of development of Epicurean themes, in contemporary naturalism? (Or is this true?)