Eternity, Boredom, and One’s Part-Whole-Reality Conception

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 88 (1):1-28 (2014)
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Bernard Williams famously argued that eternal life is undesirable for a human because it would inevitably grow intolerably boring. I will argue against Williams and those who share his view. To make my case, I will provide an account of what staves off boredom in our current, earthly-mortal lives, and then I will draw on this account while advancing reasons for thinking that eternal life is desirable, given certain conditions. Though my response to Williams will partly overlap with some prior responses to Williams, especially the one offered by J. M. Fischer, my response will also be distinctive in some important ways. For instance, it will be distinctive in that it will discuss the role that one’s part-whole-reality conception plays in fending off boredom, where by “one’s part-whole-reality conception” I mean “one’s conception of his or her place in the whole of reality.”

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William Lauinger
Chestnut Hill College

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