Aging, Death, and Human Longevity: A Philosophical Inquiry - download pdf or read online

By Christine Overall

ISBN-10: 0520232984

ISBN-13: 9780520232983

With the aid of drugs and expertise we live longer than ever earlier than. As human existence spans have elevated, the ethical and political concerns surrounding toughness became extra advanced. should still we wish to dwell so long as attainable? What are the social ramifications of longer lives? How does an extended existence span swap the best way we expect in regards to the price of our lives and approximately dying and demise? Christine total deals a transparent and clever dialogue of the philosophical and cultural concerns surrounding this tough and infrequently emotionally charged factor. Her publication is exclusive in its complete presentation and assessment of the arguments--both old and contemporary--for and opposed to prolonging lifestyles. It additionally proposes a revolutionary social coverage for responding to dramatic raises in existence expectancy. Writing from a feminist viewpoint, total highlights the ways in which our biases approximately race, category, and gender have affected our perspectives of aged humans and durability, and her coverage options symbolize an attempt to beat those biases. She additionally covers the arguments surrounding the query of the "duty to die" and encompasses a provocative dialogue of immortality. After judiciously weighing the advantages and the hazards of prolonging human lifestyles, total persuasively concludes that the size of existence does topic and that its period could make a distinction to the standard and price of our lives. Her ebook could be an important consultant as we ponder our social duties, the which means of human lifestyles, and the customers of dwelling longer.

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Extra info for Aging, Death, and Human Longevity: A Philosophical Inquiry

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This view finds a modern-day equivalent in the work of Ariès (1974, 106), who suggests, rather plaintively, that the contemporary denial of death, with its accompanying feeling that “we are non-mortals,” does not “Remember You Must Die” / 39 in any way gladden our lives. Callahan (1998, 253) argues that the average life expectancy now achieved in developed nations is su‹cient to constitute a full life. The life-span framework that is now provided by “nature,” he says, is “perfectly adequate for human life, both collectively and individually” (134).

Thus Lucretius says, quite explicitly, “We are continually engaged and fixed in the same occupations; nor, by the prolongation of life, is any new pleasure discovered” (1997, 143). According to this view, life’s enjoyments and gratifications are fixed and limited; if we live too long, we will have no choice but to simply repeat what we have already done, and such rep- 38 / “Remember You Must Die” etition would be boring and futile. As Gruman (1977, 14) explains, in the era of ancient philosophers such as Epicurus and Lucretius there was no concept of progress comparable to our own; therefore the Epicureans could reason that there is no justification for living to see what the future might bring.

Within that perspective, sixty-five is clearly the start of the last stage of life, and although I argue against apologism, it is important to acknowledge and analyze the time frame that apologism places at issue. The biblical concept of “threescore years and ten,” along with other cultural stereotypes about the length of human life, reinforces the idea that sixty-five is at least the beginning of the end. In addition, the cultural standard for the age of retirement, with or without legislation to make it compulsory, has remained constant at sixtyfive years.

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Aging, Death, and Human Longevity: A Philosophical Inquiry by Christine Overall

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