Refuting Singer on Radical Life Extension

Certain breeds of bioethicist and economist are much alike: they spend a great deal of time and energy in building complex sophistry or mathematical constructions to try and convince us that true is false, and black is white. This is a grand waste of talent that might have otherwise produced real value. Here is an example from the IEET Blog: "Peter Singer argues that we should not proceed to develop a hypothetical life-extension drug, based on a scenario where developing the drug would fail to achieve the greatest sum of universal happiness over time. But that's the wrong test. ... If we ask, more simply, which policy would be more benevolent, we reach a different conclusion from Singer's: even given his questionable scenario, development of the drug should go ahead. A more pluralistic account of the nature of morality than used by Singer reaches a benevolent recommendation on life-extension technology. ... It may be that utilitarians, such as Peter Singer, are inevitably pushed toward 'total-view' thinking - which attempts to maximise the total amount of happiness in the universe - rather than toward a view that we should ensure the best possible lives for those people who will come to exist in the future. As a result utilitarians can, again paradoxically given the sympathies that underly their moral theory, can make policy recommendations that are not the most benevolent available."



Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.