November 1, 2003

· Philosophy

This is really Brian’s department, but a report that the world’s oldest person has passed away at the age of 116 leads me to ask whether it is, in fact, analytically possible for the world’s oldest person to die.

This in turn reminds me of a story that the late Dick Jeffrey once told me. While sitting on a bus in London in the early ‘70s, he overheard two pensioners complaining about the newfangled decimal currency. They both agreed that change and progress were good things. But they thought it would have been better if instead of rushing to introduce the new money right away the Government had waited until all the old people had died.

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I am Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Markets and Management Studies program, and the Duke Network Analysis Center.

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