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Immortality and Meaning: Reflections on the Makropulos Debate

MIKEL BURLEY
Philosophy
Vol. 84, No. 330 (October 2009), pp. 529-547
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40588030
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Immortality and Meaning: Reflections on the Makropulos Debate
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Abstract

This article reflects upon the debate, initiated by Bernard Williams in 1973, concerning the desirability of immortality, where the latter expression is taken to mean endless bodily life as a human or humanoid being. Williams contends that it cannot be desirable; others have disputed this contention. I discuss a recent response from Timothy Chappell and attempt to pinpoint the central disagreement between Chappell and Williams. I propose that neither side in the debate has firm grounds for its claims, and then proceed to consider four reasons for suspecting that the whole debate has yet to be placed on a conceptually coherent footing.

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