By Kurt Baier (auth.), Nancy S. Jecker (eds.)
The getting older Self and the getting older Society moral matters related to the aged have lately come to the fore. this could come as no shock: because the flip of the century, there was an eightfold in crease within the variety of american citizens over the age of sixty 5, and nearly a tripling in their percentage to the overall inhabitants. these over the age of eighty-five- the quickest starting to be staff within the country-are twenty yet one more instances as quite a few as in 1900. Demographers count on this pattern to speed up into the twenty-first century. The getting older of society casts into brilliant reduction a num ber of deep and troubling questions. at the one hand, as members, we grapple with the quick event of getting older and mortality and search to discover in it philosophical or moral value. We additionally ask yourself what responsi bilities we undergo towards getting older kin and what expectancies of others our plans for outdated age can reasona bly contain. however, as a neighborhood, we needs to come to a decision: What detailed function, if any, do older individuals occupy in our society? What constitutes a simply distribution of scientific assets among generations? And, How can associations that serve the previous foster imperiled values, akin to autonomy, self-respect, and dignity? only in the near past have we started to discover those subject matters, but already a wealthy and fruitful literature has grown up round them.
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If they cannot overcome these, as many will be unable to do, then they must either accept the sad view that their lives are meaningless or they must abandon the first proposition: that this earthly life is not worth living. They must find the meaning of their lives in this earthly existence, but is this possible? A moment's examination will show us that the Christian evaluation of our earthly lives as worthless, which we accept in our moments of pessimism and dissatisfaction, is not one that we normally accept.
We do not judge a boy a bad student because his answer to a question in the Leaving Examination is much worse than that given in reply to the same question by a young man sitting for his finals for the Bachelor's degree. The same principles must apply to judging lives. When we ask whether a given life was or was not worthwhile, then we must take into consideration the range of worthwhileness that ordinary lives normally cover. Our end poles of the scale must be the best possible and the worst possible life that one finds.
This is a howler, because it conceives of the universe as a big thing, whereas, in fact, it is the totality of things, that is, not a thing. That every thing has an origin does not entail that the totality of things has an origin. On the contrary, it strongly suggests that it has not For to say that every thing has an origin implies that any given thing must have developed out of something else, which in tum, being a thing, must have developed out of something else, and so forth. If we assume that every thing has an origin, we need not, indeed it is hard to see how we can, assume that the totality of things has an origin as well.