What is it like to be 572 year old? Self-Imagining Open Lifespan; part 2, times

In What is it like to be 572 year old? Self-imagining Open Lifespan; part 1, slides from 2017 I introduced a thought experiment through slides, sort of en masse and in medias res. Time to step back and get a bit methodological.

Today I would like to introduce a philosophical phenomenon that continue to surprise me to this day, so I still don’t have a settled theory about it. I’m hoping to reach at least a temporary solution though by writing about it. It is related to thought experimentation and offers at least 2 different ways to imagine ourselves being 572 years old and healthy.

Possible worlds and methodology: times, worlds and selves

At this point, I recommend reading Open Lifespan within the possible world framework to get a glimpse on how the default possible world toolset is being used here.

To briefly put: possible worlds describe possible – largely, but not necessary spatiotemporal – situations that express of something being the case. Possible worlds are accessible from each other through an accessibility relation that can be defined various ways. 

Now, the new stuff: The basic concepts where I start to approach my object are times, worlds and selves. One might make the hypothesis that every thought experiment involving human beings will need to set or automatically sets at least 3 parameters: times, worlds and selves. Continue reading “What is it like to be 572 year old? Self-Imagining Open Lifespan; part 2, times”

What is it like to be 572 year old? Self-imagining Open Lifespan; part 1, slides from 2017

When I got back to the philosophical problems and project of healthy longevity in 2017, after defending my philosophy MS thesis about it in 2005 and spending the next long decade in science and bioinformatics, one of the first problem I’ve found was that of distant self-imagination. This seemed to me as core and also well-defined problem that can be handled with the toolset of analytical philosophy quite well. I’ve found the relevant literature quick and thought and wrote a lot about it, to myself. Then, I realised there’s a relevant branch of psychological research looking into distant self-simulation with interesting results. What I came up with then, as objectivation, was a thought experiment that I turned into an actual little empirical survey as I’ve asked 4 different people to do a series of thought experiments. Here’s the informal slides I presented two them, without the results I typed into some tables during the interaction. 2 years later am now ready to write up the philosophical study in subsequent post and also am happy to report that I managed to find actual psychologists who have taken up on the idea and did a survey including hundreds of people, I presented some results in Brussels in 2018, and a paper is under peer review.