How Old Is Old? Changing Conceptions of Old Age

  • Christine Overall
Part of the Jepson Studies in Leadership book series (JSL)


Christine Overall continues the conversation about people’s changing abilities through time. Overall’s aim is to show that conceptions of oldness are generally indeterminate, and potentially in need of revision in light of normative concerns about age discrimination and justice and in light of relatively recent advances in life expectancy. To be old is not to have lived to a particular age, but to have a social and political status or to possess other normatively significant properties associated with old age. Overall describes various forms of discrimination against old people, such as ageism and ableism, and advocates for solidarity between the old and the not-yet-old in an effort to address the unjust marginalization of old people.



I am very grateful to Geoffrey Scarre for his comments on an earlier version of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Overall
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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