26 September 2014

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Is it possible to live forever? + NEWS

Essays + NEWS

Dear friends,

This Saturday we are discussing: Is it possible to live forever?

No doubt this could come very handy, with all those unending books we
want to read about philosophy, and an equally long list about other
subjects, places to visit, discussions to engage with friends and so on.
Unfortunately, the answer is no, but as I argue in my few paragraphs (at
the end of this email) this does not mean that this question is a
useless question for a philosophy debate. On the contrary, it is hidden
door to some very serious philosophy.

------Essay from Ruel

Hello Lawrence,

Below is the link to the short essay I wrote on the topic to be
discussed next PhiloMadrid meet-up.

Thank you.
See you on Saturday.

--- from Miguel – Maths meeting.

Estimado tertuliano,

Te invitamos a asistir a la próxima Tertulia de Matemáticas el próximo
Martes 30 de Septiembre a las 19:00h en El Centro Segoviano de Madrid:
El Misterio (https://sites.google.com/site/tertuliadematematicas/30-9-2014)

Aprovechamos para felicitar al tertuliano Eduardo Pérez Molina, cuyo
artículo sobre los orígenes de los gráficos por ordenador (que se
adjunta) ha sido publicado en la revista de ingeniería IEEE.

Os enviamos también la conferencia que sobre el Bitcoin el tertuliano
Juan Valentín Pastrana pronunció el pasado 3 de Septiembre en el Ateneo
de Madrid:

http://youtu.be/_HFa2uc6tOc (exposición)
http://youtu.be/OxLL3-r_U6s (debate primera parte)
http://youtu.be/OZ6mbJRm9As (debate segunda parte)
http://www.callebitcoin.es, (bitcoin en la calle Serrano).

Saludos cordiales,
Tertulia de Matemáticas

---- from Norma – couses and programme about Seville see link to blog
La magia de los mitos, la literatura y la ópera inspirados en Sevilla
a cargo de Norma Sturniolo
---- Curso -- Los martes a partir de las 18:00. El curso empieza el 7 de
octubre y finaliza el 20 de enero de 2015----
More details:

---An event at the British Cemetery 28th September,
Aprovechamos la oportunidad para comunicar a los Friends del British
Cemetery los detalles de la presentación de la nueva publicación de la
Editorial La Felguera en el Cementerio Británico.
David J. Butler MBE

---review one of Gloria's books
If anyone would like to do a book review of one of Gloria's books for a
blog or media please get in touch with me.
Name of book: FREAKING OUT (Lo Esmás flipando) es. Chiado
First book: WHINNY: Cuentos o relatos negros pero blancos (1985-2013)
ed. Palibrio

----short essay Lawrence

Is it possible to live forever?

The short answer is of course No. And there is no doubt that this type
of questions stem can easily stem from our beliefs of eternal gods.
Hence, if god can live forever why can't we? But until we have some
evidence about the existence of a god or gods these questions do not
make sense in the context of our question.

A more intelligent approach to the question is to look at it in the
logical context of extension: if we can live for so many years why can't
we live forever? The problem is of course the "forever" part; nothing is
forever. The second law of thermodynamics (or whatever they call it
today) makes sure of that.

Some might argue that this question should be interpreted in the
metaphorical sense. Maybe our physical life might be short, but people
will remember us long after our atoms have been recycled and our legacy
enjoyed by others. Hence, this is the way me just might live forever.

Unfortunately, there is nothing metaphorical about death. And although I
have no problem with others remembering me, but between being remembered
by others and me remembering myself I know which one I prefer! Hence, as
philosophers we are only interested in facts.

Gods are not facts, the second law of thermodynamics seems to be a more
biding fact than our desire to live forever, and, of course, metaphors
are not facts.

A more reasonable question to ask would therefore be: for how long can a
human being potentially live for?

Firstly, this question is a biological question, since it is an
empirical question to discover the potential life span of a human being,
in what context and how can we achieve this potential. Secondly, and
this is the philosophical question part, we have to ask: should we try
to achieve this potential, are we entitled to achieve this potential,
and is there a causal link between length of life and quality of life?

Indeed, it is this debate between length of life and quality of life
that mostly concerns society (at least western society) today. And one
of the reasons is that these past fifty or so years we have experienced
both quality and length of life. Today we know that access to a
nutritional diet, health care and stable life leads to longer life and a
better quality of life.
Some might argue that today the quality of health care is being
regressed due to political policies that have replaced clinical
objectives with financial ones. And access to quality food is equally
questionable even though today we have more access to food than ever.

Social instability is also being challenged today. And although we don't
expect catastrophic civil revolutions anytime soon such headlines as the
following do indicate that not all is well with society: three million
people unemployed, the average person cannot afford to buy a house, or
entry wages to the labour market are equal to those in 1993 etc etc.
Maybe we can argue that today we don't have political instability but
economic instability, which from cursory observations tend to affect
individuals more than society in general.

So the biological question of potential life has to be supported with
the question of what kind of environmental conditions are conducive to
achieve a long life. Hence, it is not just a question of genes but also
a matter of the environment. And here is where we can find a range of
philosophical issues in political philosophy, ethics, medical ethics,
economic philosophy etc.

Although our question at hand is not philosophically interesting,
however, hiding behind these types of questions are clear issues that
can affect and influence how long we live for. And how long we live for
does introduce issues for philosophers. And therefore, is it possible
for us to live longer than we actually do? Would this then be a moral
obligation on us as individuals, on society as a collective of peers or
our governments as guardians of our wellbeing?

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
Open Tertulia in English every Thursday from 19:30 to 21h at
Irish Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Is it possible to live
forever? + NEWS

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