This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Immortality' during my Thesis research, as from 2011. Click here for Note.
Write-up1 (as at 01/03/2018 23:49:55): Immortality
- This is a sub-topic of Life after death3, the others being:-
→ Resurrection4, and
To these historical options we can now add the various hopes of:-
- In the Biblical Christian tradition, God is the only being with natural immortality (see 1 Timothy 6:16 “God … who alone is immortal”, NIV), but Plato (and his Platonising Christian followers) had it that the (human) soul7 is also naturally immortal. So, the Biblical view is rather that God gives or denies immortality to whoever he wishes (and there is consequently no need to eternally roast the immortal souls of the wicked).
- St, Paul has it that “the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53, NIV). This is in the context of the resurrection of the just at the return of Christ.
- In the context of identity theory, it is doubtful whether the very same thing can at one time be perishable and at another time immortal, because a thing’s persistence conditions8 are taken to be essential properties of the sort9 it is, and a single thing cannot change sort.
- As such, (as "Johnston (Mark) - Surviving Death" notes), natural immortality of the soul is the only hope for post-mortem survival. But this hope is itself dashed by the lack of empirical evidence for the existence of the substantial soul, immortal or otherwise.
- It does seem incongruous to talk about post-mortem immortality – how can something that has died be immortal? The idea, no doubt, is that it is the body that the soul occupied that was mortal. Hence, the soul needs a new immortal body to be clothed with. That seems to be the Pauline picture, though debated by the “Conditional Immortality” people.
- The Transhumanists10 hope that Uploading11 to a computer might lead to indefinitely extended life, though this is hardly immortality. Indefinite dentity-preserving life extensions might be possible using repair-microbots.
- In all this, I’m talking about the persistence of the individual12. I’m not talking about “immortality” in the sense of “undying fame”. As Woody Allen quipped13 – “I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don't want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment”.
- "Williams (Bernard) - The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality" argues that we wouldn’t even want immortality, but I’m not convinced. However, a bad immortality – uploading to an evil computer, for instance – would be worse than no immortality, though some14 are not even convinced of that. Reading associated with this topic is covered under:-
→ Makropulos Case15
- Of course, if animalism16 is the correct account of personal identity, immortality is not on offer, though if the transhumanists17 succeed, an indefinite extension of life might be possible.
- I have some other notes on this and related topics as part of Philosophy of Religion18 and my Blog19, including:-
→ Death and Eternal Life20,
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read21, include22 the following:-
- "Badham (Paul) & Badham (Linda) - Immortality or Extinction: Introduction", Badham
- "Cave (Stephen) - Everlasting glory", Cave
- "Cave (Stephen) - Remember Herostratus", Cave
- "Edwards (Paul) - Dr. Kubler-Ross, Dr. Moody, and the New Immortality Movement", Edwards
- "Grossman (Lev) - 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal", Grossman
- "Kagan (Shelly) - Plato, Part II: Arguments for the immortality of the soul", Shelley
- "Kagan (Shelly) - Plato, Part III: Arguments for the immortality of the soul (cont.)", Shelley
- "Kagan (Shelly) - Plato, Part IV: Arguments for the immortality of the soul (cont.)", Shelley
- "Kagan (Shelly) - The badness of death, Part III; Immortality, Part I", Shelley
- "Kagan (Shelly) - Immortality Part II; The value of life, Part I", Shelley
- "Perry (John) - A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality", Perry
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Immortality", Shoemaker
- "Williams (Bernard) - The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality", Williams
- A reading list23 (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Badham (Paul) & Badham (Linda) - Immortality or Extinction", Badham
- "Barr (James) - The Garden of Eden and the Hope of Immortality", Barr
- "Bostock (David) - The Soul and Immortality in Plato's Phaedo", Bostock
- "Cullmann (Oscar) - Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?", Cullmann
- "Edwards (Paul), Ed. - Immortality", Edwards
- "Flew (Anthony) - Merely Mortal?", Flew
- "Forrest (Peter) - The Tree of Life: Agency and Immortality in a Metaphysics Inspired by Quantum Theory", Forrest
- "Gillman (Neil) - The Death Of Death: Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought", Gillman
- "Hick (John) - Death and Eternal Life", Hick
- "Johnston (Mark) - Surviving Death", Johnston
- "Martin (L. Michael) & Augustine (Keith) - The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death", Martin & Augustine
- "Merricks (Trenton) - How to Live Forever Without Saving Your Soul: Physicalism and Immortality", Merricks
- "Murray (Michael J.) & Rea (Michael) - Mind, body, and immortality", Murray & Rea
- "Nussbaum (Martha) - Mortal Immortals: Lucretius on Death and the Voice of Nature", Nussbaum
- "Penelhum (Terence), Ed. - Immortality", Penelhum
- "Penny (Michael) - Immortality! When?", Penny
- "Tolkein (J.R.R.) - The Lord of the Rings: Part I - The Fellowship of the Ring", Perrett
- "Perrett (Roy W.) - Regarding Immortality", Perrett
- "Phillips (D.Z.) - Death and Immortality", Phillips
- "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Immortality and Dualism", Shoemaker
- "Sutherland (Stewart R.) - Immortality and Resurrection", Sutherland
- "Tipler (Frank) - The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead", Tipler
- This is mostly a place-holder24.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (01/03/2018 23:49:55).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 14: Footnote 21:
- I’m not sure where this is from, but see Link.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
- The categorised reading-list requires some pruning in order to fit to identity-related issues only.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)