lecture 11

lecture 11 - Philosophy262 Theprosandconsof livingforever...

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Philosophy 262 The pros and cons of  living forever
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Two life-or-death questions (1) Is death bad for the person who dies—and if so, why? (2) Is immortality good for the person who lives— and if so, why?
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The Epicurean argument (1) Something can be good/bad for a person only if he/she is aware that it is happening. (2) A person cannot be aware of being dead when s/he’s alive . (3) A person cannot be aware of being dead when s/he’s dead . (4) Being alive and being dead exhaust the states a person can be in. Therefore, (5) A person cannot be aware of being dead. Therefore, (6) Being dead can’t be bad for a person.
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Nagel’s challenge to Premise (1) (a) Something can be bad for you even if you are not aware of it, e.g. betrayal or slander. (b) The badness of death is similar to the badness of betrayal or slander in that both involve a kind of harm or deprivation that is bad regardless of whether the affected person is aware of it .
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What is harmful about betrayal, slander, death? A person who is betrayed or slandered suffers a loss or deprivation of something that any person has a rational or moral right to expect, namely, to be treated with respect. Is there a similar loss or deprivation suffered by someone who dies? D oes a person who dies have any rational or moral right to expect to live any longer ?
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An analogy Consider someone S who has a terrible accident that produces severe brain damage , reducing him to the condition of (as Nagel put it), a ‘ contented infant whose intellectual capacity, range of interests and desires have been severely reduced. However, S himself is unaware of this—and the desires,
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This note was uploaded on 03/15/2012 for the course PHIL 262g taught by Professor Yaffe during the Spring '06 term at USC.

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lecture 11 - Philosophy262 Theprosandconsof livingforever...

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