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Is It Illogical to Fear Death?

...especiallly if death is nothing is nothing more or less than personal annihilation. That’s what they’re discussing on the FIRST THINGS blog, with special reference to Dawkins. If we’re completely undogmatic or agnostic about death in a Socratic fashion, it seems to me, then fear or some such aversion to death and the strong likelihood of personal nonbeing is not altgother unreasonable. We do know that life is good, I hope, and a certain good is the foundation of fear of what’s, at best, an uncertain alternative. Socrates’s agnosticism, it seems to me, serves the conclusion that there are things worse than death, and so courage and the other risky virtues are not altogether unreasonable. The neo-Darwinians in general, including even Darwinian Larry, aim to explain away the strange behavior--such as high technology and religion--characteristic of members of our species alone, the behavior some say flows from our singular awareness of and capabilitity of being moved by personal biological mortality. And genuine Socratic agnosticsm--as opposed to neo-Darwinian atheistic scientism--may have room for the possibililty that personal existence is more than biological.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Does more than biological mean a manifestation of a different perspective other than the one described by arnhart as biological (second person) perspective. If so is that a description of the 1st or 2nd perspective? I think Socrates would say 1st and to that I have to say it reflects the power of "human responsibility" i meanwhose more responsible than Socrates.... Except that whole supposed pen stuff.

If you believe that everything reduces to physics instead of biology, wouldn't that negate death...energy is just changing states and matter can neither be created nor destroyed...Biology is simply the chemistry of physics. Energy exists in various states some of which are elements and some of these are arranged as compounds and some of these are organic compounds and some of these organic compounds group together to form the cells and some of these cells form organs and organs grouped cohesively form human beings. At the end of the day physics is understood by mathmatics, and the mathmatics is only understood by the computers at IBM Research or those who can naturally break the pedaflop barrier(one quadrillion calculations a second...and to think some folks think a trillion is a large number)

I don't buy into going half way with reductionism and stopping arbitrarily at biology, yet I don't think physics is humanly comprehensible...which is why those jokers are all eastern philosophers...of course if physics was comprehensible then one might have to admit that life is an arbitrary fluctuation of energy with little significance/effect upon energy.

I don't doubt that very bright people like Dawkins exist, and I am certain that smart biologists can gain specialized insights into human behavior.

This is a sort of theoretical historicism on my part, but when a computer at IBM discovers the conditions prevelant during the big bang, it is discovering conditions/laws/relationships that have essentially always existed. But the meanings of words like relationship have an altogether different meaning for those who ask in wonder: Who can count the number of sands on the beach?...Well the IBM computer can theoretically do so multiple times within a single second...and being made of sand itself(silicone) this is rather confusing/amazing.

On the subject of death some Transhumanists actually believe that they are in personhood/AI fully transferable from a material state to an IBM mainframe...according to some the minds of the entire world could live on somewhere around the yottaflop barrier(numbers so large they have to be expressed in insane factorials)...I can't believe much of this crap but genuis grade AI thinkers buy into it...In any case a lot of folks are wiser and smarter than I am...but what it all looks like from my house ossilates between something interesting to contemplate and something that has reached bounds beyond understanding...we "know" more but for that very reason can understand less...we can draw(pull from) more relationships(probability/causation)....but simultaneously we can't draw(art) more relationships(friendships, feeling).

I may have strayed from the field...but the question of death and logic naturally drew me towards the AI Transhumanist...here I think you have to admit historicism...on the grounds that they are employing a different vocabulary and different standards for what is logical, what is fear, and what is death and life itself.

But suppose that AI is capable of recreating reality and uploading minds...does the original question still make sense, or have the meanings and attachments given to its component words broken down?

Is it illogical to fear death to the point where one would upload oneself into an IBM server?

This is all fictional of course especially in regards to its practicability/correspondence/possibility...but I see no point in being arbitrary about integrating the understanding of my personhood with biology, when biology is essentially just chemistry and chemistry is just physics and physics is just AI(in terms of how it is knowable).

Personal existance is more than just biological because it is conceived in terms such that the meanings associated with the words exist and function emotionally on a seperate plane from that of scientific enquiry.

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