Value in Very Long Lives

Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (4):416-434 (2017)

Authors
Preston Greene
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Abstract
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 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.
Keywords bioethics   value theory   life extension   meaning of life   eternal life
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1163/17455243-46810057
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Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time.Theodore Sider - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):642-647.
Epicureanism About Death and Immortality.John Martin Fischer - 2006 - The Journal of Ethics 10 (4):355-381.

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