The (Un)desirability of Immortality

Philosophy Compass 15 (2):e12652 (2020)
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Abstract

While most people believe the best possible life they could lead would be an immortal one, so‐called “immortality curmudgeons” disagree. Following Bernard Williams, they argue that, at best, we have no prudential reason to live an immortal life, and at worst, an immortal life would necessarily be bad for creatures like us. In this article, we examine Bernard Williams' seminal argument against the desirability of immortality and the subsequent literature it spawned. We first reconstruct and motivate Williams' somewhat cryptic argument in three parts. After that, we elucidate and motivate the three best (and most influential) counterarguments to Williams' seminal argument. Finally, we review, and critically examine, two further distinct arguments in favor of the anti‐immortality position.

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Author Profiles

Felipe Pereira
University of Pittsburgh
Travis Timmerman
Seton Hall University

Citations of this work

Too Easy, Too Good, Too Late?Alexander Dietz - 2023 - Philosophers' Imprint 23 (1).

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References found in this work

Well-being and death.Ben Bradley - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Downshifting and meaning in life.Neil Levy - 2005 - Ratio 18 (2):176–189.
Against Time Bias.Preston Greene & Meghan Sullivan - 2015 - Ethics 125 (4):947-970.
Downshifting and Meaning in Life.Neil Levy - 2005 - Ratio 18 (2):176-189.

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