Re: >H Hayflick on death and immortality

Michael Nielsen (
Sat, 30 May 1998 16:54:21 -0600 (MDT)

On Sat, 30 May 1998, Daniel Fabulich wrote:

> On Sat, 30 May 1998, Michael Nielsen wrote:
> > [1] It is quite possible to construct a value system which implies
> > that immortality is a bad idea. If Hayflick's value system is of this
> > type, then his conclusion is quite rational, although his stated
> > reasoning is not.
> This, of course, presumes that any value system is rational, which I'd say
> is a highly controversial premise.

I'd put it differently: it acknowledges that any non-trivial system of
thought requires certain founding assumptions. Using these founding
assumptions is not an irrational procedure, unless you wish to declare
all systems of thought irrational.

In the case of transhumanists, the founding assumptions, or basic values,
are such that life extension is a rational goal. Other systems of thought
do not necessarily imply that.

> It seems to me that any definition of practical rationality must on some
> level include some element which prevents one from contradicting one's
> self and one's stated values. It seems to me that a death wish like
> Hayflick's would therefore not meet this criterion.

How does it fail to meet this criteria?

Michael Nielsen

"I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind!
The answer is twelve? I think I'm in the wrong building."
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