David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Forum 35 (3):371–391 (2004)
Some people feel distressed reflecting on human extinction. Some people even claim that our efforts and lives would be empty and pointless if humanity becomes extinct, even if this will not occur for millions of years. In this essay, I will attempt to demonstrate that this claim is false. The desire for long-lastingness or quasi-immortality is often unwittingly adopted as a standard for judging whether our efforts are significant. If we accomplish our goals and then later in life conclude that these accomplishments were of no significance, then this is a sign that the desire for long-lastingness has crept into our standards. By recognizing this, and refraining from adopting an unreasonable standard to judge whether our efforts are significant, it will be to our advantage. Then, when we look back on life from an external perspective that encompasses times after humanity has become extinct, we will not conclude that our efforts amounted to nothing. Rather, we will conclude that many people made significant accomplishments that made their lives and the lives of other people better than they would have been if their goals had never been pursued.
|Keywords||Human Extinction Meaning of Life Meaning in Life Future Generations|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Thomas Nagel (1986). The View From Nowhere. Oxford University Press.
Robert Nozick (1981). Philosophical Explanations. Harvard University Press.
Arne Naess (1973). The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement. A Summary. Inquiry 16 (1-4):95 – 100.
Thomas Nagel (1971). The Absurd. Journal of Philosophy 68 (20):716-727.
Avner De-Shalit (1995). Why Posterity Matters: Environmental Policies and Future Generations. Routledge.
Citations of this work BETA
Thaddeus Metz (2007). New Developments in the Meaning of Life. Philosophy Compass 2 (2):196–217.
T. J. Mawson (2013). Recent Work on the Meaning of Life and Philosophy of Religion. Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1138-1146.
Iddo Landau (2013). Conceptualizing Great Meaning in Life: Metz on the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Religious Studies 49 (4):505-514.
Iddo Landau (2014). Standards, Perspectives, and the Meaning of Life: A Reply to Seachris. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3):457-468.
Brooke Alan Trisel (2016). Human Extinction, Narrative Ending, and Meaning of Life. Journal of Philosophy of Life 6 (1):1-22.
Similar books and articles
Julian Baggini (2005). What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life. Oxford University Press.
Robin Attfield (1998). Environmental Ethics and Intergenerational Equity. Inquiry 41 (2):207 – 222.
Claire Hill (2012). Tracking the Logos. Axiomathes 22 (1):91-108.
Michael N. Mautner (2009). Life-Centered Ethics, and the Human Future in Space. Bioethics 23 (8):433-440.
Brooke Alan Trisel (2007). Judging Life and Its Value. Sorites (18):60-75.
Eric Dietrich (2007). After the Humans Are Gone. Philosophy Now 61 (May/June):16-19.
Brooke Alan Trisel (2002). Futility and the Meaning of Life Debate. Sorites (14):70-84.
James E. Scarff (1980). Ethical Issues in Whale and Small Cetacean Management. Environmental Ethics 2 (3):241-279.
G. M. Aitken (1998). Extinction. Biology and Philosophy 13 (3):393-411.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads992 ( #418 of 1,911,657 )
Recent downloads (6 months)88 ( #4,915 of 1,911,657 )
How can I increase my downloads?