The Social Justice View of Longevity Science

The interesting thing about longevity science is that the end result - a much longer, healthier life - is so compelling that even communities traditionally opposed to free and rapid development of new technologies on ideological grounds (such as prioritizing equality so highly that universal poverty and death is preferable to inequality) find their members coming around eventually. See this, for example, from an ethicist steeped in the social justice viewpoint: "A fair system of social cooperation is one that is both rational and reasonable (John Rawls, 2001). Is it rational and reasonable for societies that (1) are vulnerable to diverse risks of morbidity (e.g. cancer, heart disease) and mortality, and (2) are constrained by limited medical resources, to prioritize aging research? In this paper I make the case for answering 'yes' on both accounts. Focusing on a plausible example of an applied gerontological intervention (i.e. an anti-aging pharmaceutical), I argue that the goal of decelerating the rate of human aging would be a more effective strategy for extending the human healthspan than the current strategy of just tackling each specific disease of aging. Furthermore, the aspiration to retard human aging is also a reasonable aspiration, for the principle that underlies it (i.e. the duty to prevent harm) is one that no one could reasonably reject."



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