That I Should Die and Others Live; Death, Value, and the Afterlife (DA comments & reply); and see "The Importance of the Afterlife"*
1. What is Kolodny's point, in citing G.B. Shaw's quip about youth, with respect to temporal scarcity?
2. What does Scheffler mean (and not mean) by the "limits of our egoism"?
3. How might our human nature(s) have been differently constituted, with respect to the pursuit of long-term goals?
4. What source of great solace for the elderly and dying would be lost in the infertility scenario?
5. Does Scheffler think it would significantly mitigate the doomsday or infertility scenarios if a posthuman race remembered and appreciated us?
6. What does Scheffler make of our desire for worthwhile eternal life?
- Some Christians believe God rewards the faithful. So why did I get Stage 4 cancer? nyt
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- Justice Antonin Scalia and the 'Dead' Constitution .... The “soft atheism” I defend considers religion more extensively, sympathizes with the idea ...
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|Reason Rally (@reasonrally)|
- Do you agree that death might not be a deprivation for someone who is "unfortunate enough"? 160
- How would you characterize the difference between passing into and out of non-existence? Is there something uncanny (but not fearsome or disquieting) about the latter?
- What's your commentary on Romans 6:23 ("the wages of sin is death, a gift of god is eternal life")? Does it not "fall on deaf ears" in your case? What do you make of it? 165
- Is immortality, when viewed through a Promethean, Sisyphean, or hellish lens, more terrifying than it is seductive when viewed as a divine gift and reward?
- If we took the threat of species extinction more seriously, would we in fact do more to promote the survival of humanity than our own? 171
- Would being deprived of all human contact be worse than death?
- Do you think it follows from our dependency on others to lead meaningful lives that we will or should be more motivated to ensure their survival than our own? 179
- Is the vocabulary of egoism and altruism generally unilluminating? Does it clarify anything important between theists and the godless? Should it bother us if we can't decisively prove our own purity of heart? 180
- Is "an egotism so powerful that no external catastrophe can prevail against it" (181) admirable or reprehensible?
- Comment: "The rewards we derive from listening to music do not consist simply in a set of brute sensations." (183) Does the same go for reading, eating and drinking, appreciating nature, etc.?
- What issues in philosophy would still interest you, if the disappearance of humanity were nigh? 184
- Would you find it personally consoling of death-and-despair-defying to write books, plays, and commentaries in earth's dying days? 187
- Do you have an Alvy Singer solution? 189
- Does it bother you to think that future humans will not share our core values? Does it undermine your confidence in those values? Why shouldn't it? 195 Do you think there will again as sudden a shift in social attitudes as we've seen in recent years with respect to gay marriage etc.? 195, 205
- Comment: "the fantasy that the lives we are now leading might continue is inherently confused and in principle unsatisfiable."
*Scheffler's Stone essay concludes:
There is also a lesson here for those who think that unless there is a personal afterlife, their lives lack any meaning or purpose. What is necessary to underwrite the perceived significance of what we do, it seems, is not a belief in the afterlife but rather a belief that humanity will survive, at least for a good long time.
But will humanity survive for a good long time? Although we normally assume that others will live on after we ourselves have died, we also know that there are serious threats to humanity’s survival. Not all of these threats are human-made, but some of the most pressing certainly are, like those posed by climate change and nuclear proliferation. People who worry about these problems often urge us to remember our obligations to future generations, whose fate depends so heavily on what we do today. We are obligated, they stress, not to make the earth uninhabitable or to degrade the environment in which our descendants will live.
I agree. But there is also another side to the story. Yes, our descendants depend on us to make possible their existence and well-being. But we also depend on them and their existence if we are to lead flourishing lives ourselves. And so our reasons to overcome the threats to humanity’s survival do not derive solely from our obligations to our descendants. We have another reason to try to ensure a flourishing future for those who come after us: it is simply that, to an extent that we rarely recognize or acknowledge, they already matter so much to us.We might wish to sample some of the nearly-500 comments this generated from Times readers...
Also worth noting, the latest Stone essay: Is Humanity Getting Better?
And this. Cheers.