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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

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EPISODE # 95

John Martin Fischer — Death, Immortality and Meaning in Life

John Martin Fischer’s Death, Immortality, and Meaning in Life offers a brief yet in-depth introduction to the key philosophical issues and problems concerning death and immortality. In this wide-ranging and thoughtful conversation, Shermer and Fisher discuss:

  • meaning in life
  • meaning in death
  • the badness of death
  • different philosophical, religious, and scientific ideas on immortality
  • near-death experiences
  • extending life through medical technology
  • medical immortality vs. real immortality
  • the problem of identity for immortality (who or what becomes immortal?)
  • living for 100 years vs. 1000 years vs. forever
  • responding to the theistic argument that without God anything goes, there is no objective morality, and no meaning to life
  • If you don’t believe in God or the afterlife, what do you say to someone who is dying or has lost a loved one?
  • Is immortality, like existence, one thought too many?

John Martin Fischer is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, and a University Professor at the University of California. He is coauthor of Near-Death Experiences: Understanding Visions of the Afterlife (OUP, 2016), and coeditor of Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings (Eighth Edition, OUP, 2018). He was Project Leader of The Immortality Project (John Templeton Foundation).

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This episode was released on December 17, 2019.

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