The time of one's life: views of aging and age group justice

Abstract

This paper argues that we can see our lives as a snapshot happening now or as a moving picture extending across time. These dual ways of seeing our lives inform how we conceive of the problem of age group justice. A snapshot view sees age group justice as an interpersonal problem between distinct age groups. A moving picture view sees age group justice as a first-person problem of prudential choice. This paper explores these different ways of thinking about age group justice and illustrates them using a principle of respect for human dignity, understood in terms of reasonable support for floor level central human capabilities at each stage of life. I argue that different frames are suitable for different kinds of decisions, and each provides a true, but partial, picture of aging and age group justice.

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Acknowledgements

Versions of this paper were presented at a workshop on Rethinking Ageing: Philosophy of Science and Ethics, Civitas Vitae Research Centre, Padova, Italy (2018) and the American Philosophical Association Pacific Division meeting, San Francisco, California, USA (2020). I am grateful to participants in these events for valuable feedback. The ideas developed in the paper draw from my book, Ending Midlife Bias: New Values for Old Age (Oxford University Press 2020a).

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Jecker, N.S. The time of one's life: views of aging and age group justice. HPLS 43, 24 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40656-021-00377-8

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Keywords

  • Aging
  • Age group justice
  • Dignity
  • Narrative identity
  • Midlife bias