Longevity and the Good Life



A number of different issues have been covered, and it will be worthwhile pulling together the central strands of my argument. The starting point of this discussion was to consider whether increasing human life spans constitutes a form of medical enhancement, which is appropriate and useful for a number of reasons. First, human beings along with most other animals have a biologically limited life span, and gerontological theories explain that this is caused by the ageing process. The use of developments in medicine to prevent or retard the ageing process to increase life spans beyond this limit, therefore, would appear to constitute a medical enhancement. Second, there is considerable debate about why and what types of enhancements should be prevented. This debate provides a useful framework for analysing some of the ethical issues that increasing life spans will raise. Part of my aim has been to place the discussion of increasing life spans within the broader debate about technological developments and the relationship between technology and our values. Medical enhancements are, by their very nature, a result of technological innovations, which makes the framework for analysing their ethical implications particularly relevant.


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© Anthony Farrant 2010

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