The Effects of Immortality on Ethics
Webcast Q&A: Sunday, 24 July 2011, Question 1
In the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on 24 July 2011, I answered a question on the effects of immortality on ethics.
If science can someday secure immortality, would that affect a person's values and morals? Imagine that scientists discover how to keep our bodies forever young, that all diseases were prevented or cured by nanotechnology, and that we could withstand massive amounts of physical force, virtually all extremes of temperature, and all forms of radiation due to robotic and genetic enhancements. Imagine, in short, that a person could only die by being sucked into a black hole, but that would never happen because we know where all of them are and could easily avoid them. Would this change anything fundamental about human life, particularly about ethics? Given that the Objectivist ethics is founded on the conditionality of life, would and should virtually immortal people still pursue their happiness and other values? Would ethics have to be redefined or put on a new foundation?
My Answer, In Brief: Be realistic in thinking about ethics! Even if scientists conquer aging and other common causes of death, life will still require the dogged pursuit of rationally selfish values – and the result of failure is death.
- Download: MP3 Segment
- Duration: 11:25
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- No One Lives Forever by Ari Armstrong
- Leonard Peikoff on the prospect of human immortality
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About Philosophy in Action Radio
I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My dissertation defended moral responsibility and moral judgment against the doubts raised by Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer four meaty questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Wednesday evenings, I interview an expert guest about a topic of practical importance.
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