- Could body-bound immortality be liveable? I should like to approach this question via consideration and criticism of some arguments put forward by "Williams (Bernard) - The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality". Williams distinguishes between two quite different types of immortality. These we may call body-bound immortality (BBI) and body- independent immortality (BII). As we might expect, someone enjoying BBI could do so only in a body of flesh and blood and bone; but it might be a moot point as to how far his body at any point during his immortal existence would have to be continuous with the body he was born with. Also, someone enjoying BII might hope to explore avenues of existence not open to the BBI case.
- But this, in Williams' view, would not be sufficient to make the BII case tolerable, even if we could accept that the BII case could qualify as a person, which he doubts. Williams argues that it is a Good Thing that we are not immortal, regardless of whether we favour BBI or BII. He also appears to take the more extreme view that it is virtually a necessary truth that immortality could not be enjoyed by a person. I shall suggest that his arguments are uncharacteristically weak, and that the elaboration of two simple distinctions can help to make the prospect of BBI more appealing than Williams allows.
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