Williams and the Desirability of Body‐Bound Immortality Revisited

Abstract

Bernard Williams argues that human mortality is a good thing because living forever would necessarily be intolerably boring. His argument is often attacked for unfoundedly proposing asymmetrical requirements on the desirability of living for mortal and immortal lives. My first aim in this paper is to advance a new interpretation of Williams' argument that avoids these objections, drawing in part on some of his other writings to contextualize it. My second aim is to show how even the best version of his argument only supports a somewhat weaker thesis: it may be possible for some people with certain special psychological features to enjoy an immortal life, but no one has good reason to bet on being such a person.

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References found in this work

Persons, Character, and Morality.Bernard Williams - 1976 - In James Rachels (ed.), Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973–1980. Cambridge University Press.
Why Immortality is Not so Bad.John Martin Fischer - 1994 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 2 (2):257 – 270.
Immortality and Boredom.John Martin Fischer & Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin - 2014 - The Journal of Ethics 18 (4):353-372.

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Citations of this work

When Death Comes Too Late: Radical Life Extension and the Makropulos Case.Michael Hauskeller - 2021 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 90:147-166.

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