Value in Very Long Lives

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy
Author: Preston Greene1
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  • 1 Philosophy Programme, NTU Singapore,

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As things currently stand, our deaths are unavoidable and our lifespans short. It might be thought that these qualities leave room for improvement. According to a prominent line of argument in philosophy, however, this thought is mistaken. Against the idea that a longer life would be better, it is claimed that negative psychological states, such as boredom, would be unavoidable if our lives were significantly longer. Against the idea that a deathless life would be better, it is claimed that such a life would be lacking in important sources of value, because death is a precondition for many of our valuing attitudes. I argue that these problems are avoided by very long (and potentially infinite) lives that incorporate fading memory, limited ignorance of future events, and temporal scarcity. I conclude that very long lives are, in principle, desirable, and that death does not play an essential role in our valuing attitudes.

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