Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment – both intellectual and financial – by philosophers, scientists and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be ‘cryopreserved’ in preference to simply dying, as they wait for science to catch up and give them a second shot at life. But if we treat death as a problem, what are the ethical implications of the highly speculative ‘solutions’ being mooted?

Historicism: The theory that to understand a historical event, you must understand the philosophical context that it took place in, rather than explain it with supposedly timeless or fundamental ideas.

Philographics

philographics-histroicism From Philographics by Genís Carreras
Nihilism: The philosophical view that the world, and human existence in particular, is without meaning, purpose, truth or value.

Philographics

philographics-nihilism From Philographics by Genís Carreras

On either side of the Atlantic, groups of public intellectuals have issued a call to arms. The besieged citadel in need of defending, they say, is the one that safeguards science, facts and evidence-based policy. These white knights of progress – such as the psychologist Steven Pinker and the neuroscientist Sam Harris – condemn the apparent resurgence of passion, emotion and superstition in politics. The bedrock of modernity, they tell us, is the human capacity to curb disruptive forces with cool-headed reason. What we need is a reboot of the Enlightenment, now.