Agency, Scarcity, and Mortality

The Journal of Ethics 19 (3-4):349-378 (2015)

Authors
Luca Ferrero
University of California, Riverside
Abstract
It is often argued, most recently by Samuel Scheffler, that we should reconcile with our mortality as constitutive of our existence: as essential to its temporal structure, to the nature of deliberation, and to our basic motivations and values. Against this reconciliatory strategy, I argue that there is a kind of immortal existence that is coherently conceivable and potentially desirable. First, I argue against the claim that our existence has a temporal structure with a trajectory that necessarily culminates in an ending. This claim is based on two false assumptions: that a life as a whole calls for narrative structure, and that narratives necessarily require closure as temporal endings. Second, I reject the proposal that temporal finitude is constitutive of the basic elements of diachronic agency, including the nature of deliberation and of our values. I argue that only finitude as scarcity of opportunities is constitutive of these elements. Additionally, scarcity might be present in an endless existence. Therefore, it is not incoherent to conceive of a recognizable and potentially desirable immortality that grounds the core features of diachronic agency. Thus, against the reconciliatory strategy, I conclude that we might never fully reconcile with mortality. Although we might embrace our inescapable mortality as essential to a fuller range of features of our existence, we can still justifiably regret our missing on an immortal existence.
Keywords Death  Mortality  Immortality  Scheffler  Scarcity  Diachronic Agency  Narrative
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Reprint years 2015
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DOI 10.1007/s10892-015-9207-4
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References found in this work BETA

Problems of the Self.Bernard A. O. Williams - 1973 - Cambridge University Press.
The Therapy of Desire.Martha Nussbaum - 1994 - Princeton University Press.

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Bootstrapping the Afterlife.Roman Altshuler - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (2).

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