Read e-book online Aging, Death, and Human Longevity: A Philosophical Inquiry PDF

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By Christine Overall

ISBN-10: 0520232984

ISBN-13: 9780520232983

With the aid of drugs and expertise we live longer than ever sooner than. As human existence spans have elevated, the ethical and political concerns surrounding toughness became extra advanced. should still we wish to reside so long as attainable? What are the social ramifications of longer lives? How does an extended existence span switch the best way we predict concerning the worth of our lives and approximately demise and demise? Christine total bargains a transparent and clever dialogue of the philosophical and cultural matters surrounding this tough and infrequently emotionally charged factor. Her publication is exclusive in its entire presentation and evaluate of the arguments--both old and contemporary--for and opposed to prolonging existence. It additionally proposes a revolutionary social coverage for responding to dramatic raises in existence expectancy. Writing from a feminist standpoint, total highlights the ways in which our biases approximately race, type, and gender have affected our perspectives of aged humans and sturdiness, and her coverage concepts signify an attempt to beat those biases. She additionally covers the arguments surrounding the query of the "duty to die" and features a provocative dialogue of immortality. After judiciously weighing the advantages and the dangers of prolonging human existence, total persuasively concludes that the size of lifestyles does subject and that its period could make a distinction to the standard and price of our lives. Her ebook could be a vital consultant as we reflect on our social tasks, the that means of human existence, and the clients of residing longer.

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Sample text

Our natural rhythms are cyclical; we are structured to live and then to die. ” But I suggest that medieval European attitudes toward death do not provide a model for our own era. Although attaining happiness was not impossible, many aspects of life in medieval times were likely onerous and miserable for the vast majority of laborers and peasants. If we set aside undue romanticism about our simpler ancestors, we see that the reality of life included heavy labor, material scarcity, intense superstition, virtually no formal education, high maternal, infant, and childhood mortality, and illnesses, epidemics, and disabilities, both physical and mental, that had to be accepted because they could not be cured.

In my discussion in this book of the debate between apologism and prolongevitism and of their social-policy implications, I am concerned primarily with the implications of each of the two perspectives with respect to the extension of life during old age rather than with its expansion during earlier phases of life. I have three reasons for this focus. First, on a theoretical level, most of the historical and contemporary arguments about human longevity are directed at the advantages and liabilities of prolonging the last stages of life: philosophers and cultural commentators have been most interested in the positive and negative implications of extending old age, not childhood or adolescence.

Whereas to want to have been born earlier is to want an identity diªerent from and unrelated to the one I have now, to want to live longer is to want to go on existing as a version of myself that is at least related, by aspiration, decision, and action, to the me that exists in the present (Kaufman 1996, 310). For that reason, Lucretius’s argument implying that the time before our birth is completely analogous to the time after our death is unsuccessful. Although it is possible to be deprived, by premature death, of the time we would have enjoyed in the future, the person that I am now cannot be likewise deprived of time prior to my birth because there was no such person.

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Aging, Death, and Human Longevity: A Philosophical Inquiry by Christine Overall


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