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Death and the Afterlife$
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Samuel Scheffler and Niko Kolodny

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199982509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982509.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

Preserving the Valued or Preserving Valuing?

Preserving the Valued or Preserving Valuing?

(p.143) Preserving the Valued or Preserving Valuing?
Death and the Afterlife

Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Oxford University Press

Samuel Scheffler's superb and original book provides important insights into individualism, human values, and how the meaning of our lives depends, surprisingly, on future generations. This comment pursues two further points. First, it asks whether our deep emotional investment in the future rests on the continuation of particular things, projects and activities or whether it rests predominantly on the continuation of the activity of valuing itself, even if future generations replace what we value with something else.  Second, the comment argues that a reasonable asymmetry holds of our attitudes toward our prior collective non-existence on the one hand and our possible future non-existence on the other.  This asymmetry parallels the Lucretian asymmetry between our attitudes about our individual past non-existence and our individual post-mortem non-existence. 

Keywords:   Lucretius, Lucretian asymmetry, reproduction, procreation, future generations, humanity, rational agents, conservatism, human history

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