Free Will, Death, and Immortality: The Role of Narrative

Philosophical Papers 34 (3):379-403 (2005)

Authors
John Fischer
University of California, Riverside
Abstract
In this paper I explore in a preliminary way the interconnections among narrative explanation, narrative value, free will, an immortality. I build on the fascinating an suggestive work of David Velleman. I offer the hypothesis that our acting freely is what gives our lives a distinctive kind of value - narrative value. Free Will, then, is connected to the capacity to lead a meaningful life in a quite specific way: it is the ingredient which, when aded to others, enows us with a meaning over an above the cumulative value erived from ading together levels of momentary welfare. In acting freely, we are writing a sentence in the story of our lives, and the value of acting freely is thus a species of the value of artistic creativity or self-expression (understood appropriately). Finally, I contend that the fact that our lives are stories need not entail that they have endings, or that immortality would necessarily be unimaginable or essentially different from ordinary, finite human life. Yes, a certain sort of narrative understanding of our lives as a whole would be impossible in the context of immortality; but much of what we care about, and value, in our stories might remain
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DOI 10.1080/05568640509485164
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References found in this work BETA

Narrative Explanation.J. David Velleman - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (1):1-25.
Well-Being and Time.J. David Velleman - 1991 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):48-77.
Responsibility and Self-Expression.John Martin Fischer - 1999 - The Journal of Ethics 3 (4):277-297.

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Citations of this work BETA

Value in Very Long Lives.Preston Greene - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (4):416-434.
Immortality and Boredom.John Martin Fischer & Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin - 2014 - The Journal of Ethics 18 (4):353-372.
New Developments in the Meaning of Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):196–217.
Teleology, Narrative, and Death.Roman Altshuler - 2015 - In John Lippitt & Patrick Stokes (eds.), Narrative, Identity and the Kierkegaardian Self. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 29-45.
Agency, Scarcity, and Mortality.Luca Ferrero - 2015 - The Journal of Ethics 19 (3-4):349-378.

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