The Effects of Immortality on Ethics
Webcast Q&A: 24 July 2011, Question 1
I answered a question on the effects of immortality on ethics on 24 July 2011. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
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.
- Duration: 11:25
- Download: MP3 Segment (3.9 MB)
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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
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in 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 book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer 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 Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.
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