Value in Very Long Lives

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy
View More View Less
  • 1 Philosophy Programme, NTU Singapore, pgreene@ntu.edu.sg

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.

  • Blumenfeld David (2009), ‘Living Life Over Again’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79, pp. 35786.

  • Bortolotti Lisa , and Nagasawa Yujin (2009), ‘Immortality without Boredom’, Ratio 22, pp. 26177.

  • Bramble Ben (2015), “On Susan Wolf’s ‘Good-for-Nothings”’, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18, pp. 107181.

  • Brink David O. (2010), ‘Prospects for Temporal Neutrality’, in Callender C. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Time (Oxford: Clarendon), pp. 25381.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Burley Mikel (2008), ‘Immortality and Boredom: A Response to Wisnewski’, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65, pp. 7785.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Craig William Lane (2008), Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 3rd edn (Crossway Books).

  • Fischer John Martin (1994), ‘Why Immortality Is Not So Bad’, International Journal of Philosophical Studies 2, pp. 25770.

  • Fischer Joh Martin (2005), ‘Free Will, Death, and Immortality: The Role of Narrative’, Philosophical Papers 34, pp. 379403.

  • Fischer John Martin (2006), ‘Epicureanism about Death and Immortality’, The Journal of Ethics 10, pp. 35581.

  • Greene Preston , and Sullivan Meghan (2015), ‘Against Time Bias’, Ethics 125, pp. 94770.

  • Kagan Shelly (2012), ‘Immortality’, in S. Kagan, Death (Yale University Press), pp. 23446.

  • Kolodny Niko (2013), ‘That I Should Die and Others Live’, in N. Kolodny (ed.), Death and the Afterlife (Oxford University Press).

  • Koopmans Tjalling C. (1967), ‘Objectives, Constraints, and Outcomes in Optimal Growth Models’, Econometrica 35, pp. 115.

  • Lewis David (1976), ‘Survival and Identity’, in A. Rorty (ed.), Identities of Persons (University of California Press), pp. 1740.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Metz Thaddeus (2002), ‘Recent Work on the Meaning of Life’, Ethics 112, pp. 781814.

  • Moore A. W. (2006), ‘Williams, Nietzsche, and the Meaninglessness of Immortality’, Mind 115, pp. 31130.

  • Nagel Thomas (1986), The View from Nowhere (Oxford University Press).

  • Nichols Shaun (2007), ‘Imagination and Immortality: Thinking of Me’, Synthese 159, pp. 21533.

  • Nozick Robert (1974), Anarchy, State, and Utopia (Basic Books).

  • Nussbaum, Martha C. (1994), ‘Mortal Immortals: Lucretius on Death and the Voice of Nature’, in M. Nussbaum, The Therapy of Desire (Princeton University Press), pp. 192238.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Perrett Roy W. (1986), ‘Regarding Immortality’, Religious Studies 22, pp. 21933.

  • Scheffler Samuel (2013), Death and the Afterlife, ed. N. Kolodny (Oxford University Press).

  • Shoemaker Sydney (1984), ‘Personal Identity: A Materialist’s Account’, in Shoemaker S. and Swinburne R. (eds.), Personal Identity (Oxford: Blackwell).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sider Theodore (1996), ‘All the World’s a Stage’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74, pp. 43353.

  • Sider Theodore (2001), Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time (Oxford University Press).

  • Steele Hunter (1976), ‘Could Body-Bound Immortality Be Liveable?’ Mind 85, pp. 4247.

  • Taylor Richard (2000), ‘The Meaning of Life’, in R. Taylor, Good and Evil (Prometheus Books), pp. 31934.

  • Temkin Larry S. (2008), ‘Is Living Longer Living Better?’ Journal of Applied Philosophy 25, pp. 193210.

  • Tolstoy Leo (1987), A Confession and Other Religious Writings, trans. J. Kentish (Penguin Books).

  • Unger Peter (1990), Identity, Consciousness, and Value (Oxford University Press).

  • Williams Bernard (1973), ‘The Makropolous Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality’, in B. Williams, Problems of the Self: Philosophical Papers 1956–1972 (Cambridge University Press), pp. 82100.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wisnewski J. Jeremy (2005), ‘Is the Immortal Life Worth Living?’ International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 58, pp. 2736.

  • Wolf Susan (1997), ‘Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life’, Social Philosophy and Policy 14, pp. 20725.

  • Wollheim Richard (1984), The Thread of Life (Cambridge University Press).

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 162 56 2
Full Text Views 220 6 0
PDF Downloads 17 5 0