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Philosophy 2073F/G
Chris Sheriff

October 23, 2012 Immortality Williams: - Argues that immortality would ultimately be entirely undesirable - Two conditions need to be met for immortality to be an attractive possibility: o 1) The future person must be identical to the individual  Williams considers the possibility of an immortality comprised of losing oneself in endless intellectual pursuit (as in Plato)  Life is potentially attractive and so meet condition 2 o 2) The life of the future person must be attractive to the individual o Nothing can meet both o Identical, but not attractive  There are two possibilities: our character is ixed for the duration of our immortality, or our character changes over time as our endless life progresses  In the former case, our life would inevitably become boring, monotonous, alienating, etc. o Fixed character  The argument here is fairly straightforward: with your character fixed, you are indulging in the same sorts of pleasures, activities, etc. forever.  But things are only enjoyable for so long. Sooner or later, this will begin to get tedious.  Eventually bored o Changing characters  Life the immortal self is living is not a life you’re interested in living, so you there is no point in being immortal Fischer: - Rejects both of Williams’ arguments - Against William’s first point o When we refer to someone “losing themselves” in an experience, that means that the content of their experience is directed at that thing, not that the person (as a person) has literally been lost in the activity o All we are saying is that the activity is not self-absorbed o So, identity is not threatened in this case - Constant character and tedium o
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