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 share to the final inhabitants. these over the age of eighty-five- the quickest transforming into team within the country-are twenty yet one more instances as a number of as in 1900. Demographers anticipate this development to speed up into the twenty-first century. The getting older of society casts into brilliant aid a num ber of deep and troubling questions. at the one hand, as contributors, we grapple with the quick adventure of getting older and mortality and search to discover in it philosophical or moral importance. We additionally ask yourself what responsi bilities we undergo towards getting older relations and what expectancies of others our plans for previous age can reasona bly comprise. nonetheless, as a group, we needs to make a decision: What precise position, if any, do older individuals occupy in our society? What constitutes a simply distribution of clinical assets among generations? And, How can associations that serve the previous foster imperiled values, reminiscent of autonomy, self-respect, and dignity? just recently have we started to discover those issues, but already a wealthy and fruitful literature has grown up round them.
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Christians, too, must feel that their lives are wasted and meaningless if they have not achieved salvation. To know that even such lost lives have a meaning in another sense is no consolation to them. What matters is not that life should have a guaranteed meaning, whatever happens here or hereafter, but that, by luck (Grace) or the right temperament and attitude (Faith) or a judicious life (Works) a person should make the most of his life. "But here lies the rub," it will be said. "Surely, it makes all the difference whether there is an afterlife.
It sees them as beings with no purpose allotted to them by anyone but themselves. It robs them of any goal, purpose, or destiny appointed for them by any outside agency. The Christian world picture, on the other hand, sees humans as creatures, divine artifacts, something halfway between robots (manufactured) and animals (alive), homunculi, or perhaps Frankenstein's monsters, made in God's laboratory, with a purpose or task assigned by their Maker. However, lack of purpose in this sense does not in any way detract from the meaningfulness of life.
People are disconcerted by the thought that life as such has no meaning in that sense only because they very naturally think it entails that no individual life can have meaning either. They naturally assume that this life or that can have meaning only if life as such has meaning. However, it should by now be clear that your life and mine mayor may not have meaning (in one sense) even if life as such has none (in the other). Of course, it follows from this that your life may have meaning whereas mine has not The Christian view guarantees a meaning (in one sense) to every life the scientific view does not (in any sense).
Aging And Ethics: Philosophical Problems in Gerontology by Kurt Baier (auth.), Nancy S. Jecker (eds.)