[ExI] Immortality, Absolute and Potential

Max More max at maxmore.com
Tue May 20 16:33:37 UTC 2008

What Lee Corbin said.

I would only add two points that I didn't see made. First, even for 
someone who will live a (potential) infinity of years, the sense of 
"wasting time" will often be perfectly reasonable for another reason: 
Many particular events in their specific circumstances will be 
*unique*. If that person misses any of these events, that would be a 
real loss (for the events the person cares about).

True, it may be possible to simulate those missed events in the 
future. However, you might be missing other such events while doing 
so. In addition, the person might care about *actually* experiencing 
those events and situations, rather than simulations of them.

The second point I would make is this: According to the view of 
personal identity that I favor, one individual can exist over very 
long periods of time (from a human perspective), even over a 
potential infinity. At the same time, that individual can undergo 
enormous change (so long as it is continuous rather than disrupting 
the essential continuity of self). What interests and matters to an 
earlier stage of a person may not interest and matter to a later 
stage of the same person. The person may exist throughout a potential 
infinity but the person-stage not. That introduces another reason for 
a potentially infinitely-long lived person to have a sense of urgency 
and time-wasting.

I detailed my view--informed by that of Derek Parfit--of continuity 
and person-stages here: http://www.maxmore.com/chapter1.htm


P.S. Last night I wrote a blog piece on the ethics and 
anti-immortalism of Doctor Who (in the third season). The Doctor is 
very long lived but not immortal. However, he can travel to any point 
in time, making it possible to experience events well beyond his life 
span if confined to the regular timestream.

Max More, Ph.D.
Strategic Philosopher
max at maxmore.com 

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