Essays on Infinite Lifespans
example take the Internet.) In the case of the question of radi-
cal human life extension, it is certainly reasonable to assume
that should such a thing come about, it will cause problems.
But all of these problems might be solvable. We need to exam-
ine the philosophical reasons for wanting life extension. If we
find that there are strong ethical reasons for life extension, this
means we can be more confident that life extension would be
on balance a good, regardless of the problems that might arise
While most people might accept that generally life is better
than death, it has to be considered whether this is only true
for a finite length of time. Perhaps life is better than death for
a while, but then the postulate ceases to be true. Is there a time
limit to the claim that life is better than death? It is hard to see
why this should be so. If there is a time limit, where does it lie?
If you think that living to 100 in good health is better than
living to 50, why is 200 years of great health not better than
100? Why stop at 200? Why not 500? If you would be happy
to live to 500, why not a million years, even forever?
A philosophical objection to life extension is the worry that
the longer we lived, the less we would value our time. After all,
a basic economic principle is that the value of a resource tends
to increase the scarcer it is. Would we somehow value each
moment less if we lived longer? Another worry that people
may have is that a desire for life extension is somehow selfish.
Perhaps budding immortals would become really self-cen-
tered and narcissistic?
It shall now be argued that both of these philosophical objec-
tions are without merit. It will be shown that not only does
striving for a longer life increase the value of each moment,
but it also increases the motivation for moral behavior.