A Fatal Flip
By Bryan Caplan
Suppose you receive the following option.
- You flip a fair coin.
- If the coin is Heads, you acquire healthy immortality.
- If the coin is Tails, you instantly die.
The expected value of this option seems infinite: .5*infinity + 0 is still infinity, no? Even if you apply diminishing marginal utility to life itself, it’s hard to imagine that the rest of your natural life outweighs a 50% shot of eternity… especially if you remember that many of your actual years are unlikely to be healthy.
Nevertheless, I suspect that almost no one would take this deal. Even I shudder at the possibility. So what gives?