Imagining Life Beyond Current Life Span study published in Innovation in Aging

In What is it like to be 572 year old? Self-imagining Open Lifespan; part 1, slides from 2017 I mentioned a philosophical thought experiment I thought up to have a device to exercise and test intuitions related to Open Lifespan from an individual point of view.

When I checked psychological research looking into distant self-simulation I’ve found that this philosophical idea can be exploited as a psychological tool. My favourite orienting academic paper was Turning I into me: Imagining your future self. So I contacted the first author, Professor C. Neil Macrae, out of the blue, who then connected me to the last author. The last author, now assistant professor of psychology, Brittany Tausen, then took the idea and turned it into a professional project: surveys were conducted including 700+ people enough for 3 different studies looking at different angles. We had a pretty good manuscript within ~3-4 months calculating from the birth of the idea itself, and that was early 2018. Next comes 2 years of painful peer-review experience at different journals, but eventually persistence, professionalism and innovation won, so here’s the paper, published in Innovation in Aging, and you can read it as free access!!!

The Mental Landscape of Imagining Life Beyond the Current Life Span: Implications for Construal and Self-Continuity

and here’s Translational Significance

The dialectics of Lifespan: Closed, Immortal, Open

A more descriptive, but alas longer, title would be: The dialectics of Lifespan: Mortal Closed, Infinite Immortal, Mortal Open.

Introduction 

In what follows I present an intentionally dialectical thought process of mine. Although it’s my first such explicit attempt, it’s been in the making for a while, so first does not mean immature or naive [1].

My philosophical education and willingness prepared me to express myself using the techniques and manners of analytical philosophy. But it also gave me plenty exposure to other traditions of philosophy. Dialectics has a pretty ancient, and as such, dignified, ancestry within Western-style philosophy, starting explicitly with Plato’s version of back-and-forth dialogue between usually Socrates and his partners in dialogue. In this post the main concern is a dialectic process extracted from Hegel by more contemporary philosophers of the analytical school.

By introducing a dialectical process concerning how our human lifespan can be considered in 3 different ways what I aim to gain are the following 3 features evoking reactions from the readers: 

  • Heuristic as an epistemological a-ha experience: by showing Open Lifespan through the lens of other, contradicting or opposing concepts
  • Existential Reality Check on what’s possible and feasible.
  • Political Message to instigate turning the Existential Reality check into a political expression by providing some of the heuristic.

What is not aimed here is to use the dialectical process as a distinctive method, as opposed to default analytical tools, and as having its own explanatory import. I believe that all dialectical processes present in philosophy, can be expressed in simple analytical means, devoid of this extra clothing, even if it means a reinterpretation of the ingredient concepts. On the other hand, I don’t claim, and stay neutral, whether all analytically presented concepts or arguments can be turned into dialectical processes.

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