In the first part of our study we’ve introduced Aubrey de Grey’s utilitarian ‘suffering argument’ for making ‘defeating’ aging a top priority for humanity.
Then we have briefly mentioned that our study is going to demonstrate 4 problems related to this utilitarian premise in the context of healthy longevity that might be discouraging the further highlighted use of this or similar kind of arguments in the hands of healthy longevity supporters to successfully appeal to the mainstream.
The second post showed why the hedonistic utilitarian account behind the argument suffers from several conceptual wounds.
Today we are going to deal with Philosophical Problem 2:
Floyd has used NB in his book to argue for social-liberal-democracy (SLD) as the (only) convincing and meaningful answer to the organising question of political philosophy: how should we live?
Our post today is the most relevant one concerning Open Lifespan, the main reason I studied Floyd’s book in the first place. Today, I’m going to demonstrate through a series of arguments that Open Lifespan as a political philosophy also picks out social-liberal-democracy as a compelling (convincing) and politically determinate (meaningful) answer to the foundational question of political philosophy, Floyd poses: how should we live?
Last time I’ve introduced the principle of life’s default positivity, and the first formula provided was the one used by Thomas Nagel in his Death essay:
It is good simply to be alive.
Another way to phrase this is comparatively
It’s better to be alive than dead.
Let me introduce now a potential counterargument, extracted from the words of one of my favourite fictional characters, Rosencrantz, played by Garry Oldman in Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Mind you, this is Stoppard’s but not Shakespeare’s Rosencrantz, speaking. How about watching it first:
The thesis or principle I’d like to introduce today is a (possibly) central thesis behind Open Lifespan philosophy and I’ll keep coming back to it throughout this blog and book in the making. I’m going to extract it first from Thomas Nagel’s masterful and dense essay, Death, originally published in Noûs, in 1970 but am actually going to use the edited version published in Mortal Questions, in 1979.
Then I simply try to provide different formulations. So no arguments today, just a start to understand this principle by stating it and have a glimpses at the heavy philosophical concepts behind it.
Nagel’s main problem in the essay is to investigate why and how and when death can be a misfortune (evil, bad) to the persons who died. And it has to do something with bringing ‘to an end all the goods that life contains’.
And in this context the principle is first stated as an ‘allegiation’ that
It is good simply to be alive, even if one is undergoing terrible experiences.
So first formula
1. It is good simply to be alive.
Let’s continue here cause this leads to another formulation of the principle: