Annihilation
Luper (Steven)
Source: Philosophical Quarterly 37 (1985) 233-252
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Many people1 find it abhorrent to think that well within 90 years they are going to die and utterly cease to exist.
  2. Those who believe that they will never cease to exist (perhaps because they think of dying as a transition to an afterlife2 in which they will live forever) are usually happy about it, and would not willingly forgo the immortality they expect.
  3. People who look upon annihilation as a grim prospect certainly may be well aware that under certain circumstances it must be regarded as the lesser of the evils among which choice is limited. They realize that it may be the only escape from a spate of creatively cruel torture, for example, and so a better option than suffering further pain.
  4. They may even be willing to say that if their lives were long enough and their possibilities exhausted, then insufferable boredom would set in. And dying after a short life of (say) 100 years might be better than being forced to live on into a future that consists of an eternity of empty, indistinguishable days.
  5. But to acknowledge that there are worse fates than annihilation in the near future, is not to deny that it is a terrible fate. Aside from a future filled with the agonies or boredom of the damned, a worse fate than no future at all is difficult to imagine.
  6. It may be that forever is longer than anyone would voluntarily live; but how many would refuse the chance to drink a potion that would allow them to live as long as they liked?

Comment:

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In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Luper quotes "Unamuno (Miguel De), Flitch (Crawford J. E.) - The Tragic Sense of Life" I do not want to die--no; I neither want to die nor do I want to want to die; I want to live for ever and ever and ever.


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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