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Valuing older peopleA humanist approach to ageing$
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Ricca Edmondson and Hans-Joachim Von Kondratowitz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847422927

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847422927.001.0001

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Engineering substantially prolonged human lifespans: biotechnological enhancement and ethics

Engineering substantially prolonged human lifespans: biotechnological enhancement and ethics

Chapter:
(p.177) Ten Engineering substantially prolonged human lifespans: biotechnological enhancement and ethics
Source:
Valuing older people
Author(s):

Peter Derkx

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847422927.003.0011

Before embarking on an ethical discussion, this chapter begins by distinguishing four possible outcomes of a biotechnological enhancement of the human lifespan – extended morbidity, compressed morbidity, decelerated senescence, and arrested senescence. The author summarises the major ethical arguments for and against effective substantial extension of the human lifespan through four categories: autonomy, beneficence (including non-maleficence), distributive justice, and meaning of life. The chapter explicates that decisions about priorities in medical and biotechnological research will have impacts on future generations. Society must be conscientious in its judgements about what is good for future people. The author argues that research on meanings of life, the value of old age, and a just and humane society requires approaches and methods fitting the subject of investigation, and in this area research confining itself to a ‘hard’ laboratory approach is often inappropriate.

Keywords:   biotechnological enhancement, human lifespan, future generations, decelerated senescence, extended morbidity

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