What Is It Like To Be Immortal?

Main Article Content

Joseph Ulatowski


The idea of an eternal and immortal life like the one we lead now seems quite appealing because (i) it will be sufficiently like our own earth-bound life and (ii) we will have the same kinds of desires we have now to want to live an eternal life.  This paper will challenge the view that we have a conception of what the conscious experience of an immortal is like, regardless of whether we might want to live it. Given that for us to conceive of an immortal life we must project onto it our own view of what it is like to live our own life and given that an immortal life may not be anything like the life we live, we cannot conceive of what it is like to be immortal.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
ULATOWSKI, J. What Is It Like To Be Immortal?. Diametros, v. 16, n. 62, p. 65-77, 30 Dec. 2019.
Author Biography

Joseph Ulatowski, University of Waikato

Joseph is Senior Lecturer and Convenor of Philosophy, and Director of the Experimental Philosophy Research Group, at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.
Share |


Altshuler, R. (2015), “Immortality, Identity, and Desirability,” [in:] Immortality and the Philosophy of Death, M. Cholbi (ed.), Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham (MD): 191-203.

Beglin, D. (2017), “Should I Choose to Never Die? Williams, Boredom, and the Significance of Mortality,” Philosophical Studies 174 (8): 2009-2028.


Beisecker, D. and Ulatowski, J. (Unpublished MS), “The Tedium of Immortality and the Exhaustion of Science,” University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 18pp.

Bortolotti, L. and Y. Nagasawa, (2009). "Immortality Without Boredom," Ratio 22 (3): 261-277.


Bostrom, N. (2008), "Why I Want To Be A Posthuman When I Grow Up," [in:] Medical Enhancement and Posthumanity, B. Gordijn and R. Chadwick (eds), Springer, New York: 107-137.

Bruckner, D. (2012), "Against the Tedium of Immortality," International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5): 623-644.


Chalmers, D. (1996), The Conscious Mind, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Chappell, T. (2007), "Infinity Goes Up On Trial: Must Immortality Be Meaningless?" European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1): 30-44.


Fischer, J.M. (1994), "Why Immortality Is Not So Bad," International Journal of Philosophical Studies 2 (2): 257-270.


Fischer, J.M. (1997), "Death, Badness, and the Impossibility of Experience," Journal of Ethics 1 (4): 341-353.


Gems, D. (2003), "Is More Life Always Better?" The Hastings Centre Report 33 (1): 31-39.


Johnston, M. (2010), Surviving Death, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Nagel, T. (1979), "What Is It Like To Be A Bat?" [in:] Mortal Questions, T. Nagel (ed), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 165-180.

Nussbaum, M. (1989). "Mortal Immortals: Lucretius on Death and the Voice of Nature," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50(2): 303-351.


Paul, L.A. (2014), Transformative Experience, Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Perry, J. (2001), Knowledge, Possibility, and Consciousness, The MIT Press, Cambridge (MA).


Preston, T. and S. Dixon. (2007), "Who Wants To Live Forever? Immortality, Authenticity, and Living Forever in the Present," International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 61 (1): 99-117.


Rosenberg, Jay. (2006), “Reassessing Immortality: The Makropulos Case Revisited,” [in:] The Good, The Right, Life and Death: Essays in Honor of Fred Feldman, K. McDaniel, J.R. Raibley, R. Feldman, and M.J. Zimmerman (eds), Ashgate Publishing Company, Burlington (VT): 227-240.

Scheffler, S. (2013), Death and the Afterlife, Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Smith, B. (1997), “Realistic Phenomenology,” [in:] Encyclopedia of Phenomenology, L. Embree (ed.), Springer, Dordrecht: 586-590.

Steele, H. (1976), “Could Body-Bound Immortality Be Liveable?” Mind 85 (339): 424-427.


Williams, B. (1973), "The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality," [in:] Problems of the Self, B. Williams (ed), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 82-100.