By Christine Overall

ISBN-10: 0520232984

ISBN-13: 9780520232983

With the aid of medication and expertise we live longer than ever sooner than. As human lifestyles spans have elevated, the ethical and political matters surrounding sturdiness became extra advanced. should still we wish to stay so long as attainable? What are the social ramifications of longer lives? How does an extended lifestyles span swap the way in which we predict in regards to the price of our lives and approximately loss of life and loss of life? Christine total bargains a transparent and clever dialogue of the philosophical and cultural matters surrounding this tough and sometimes emotionally charged factor. Her ebook is exclusive in its accomplished presentation and overview of the arguments--both historical and contemporary--for and opposed to prolonging lifestyles. It additionally proposes a revolutionary social coverage for responding to dramatic raises in lifestyles 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 sturdiness, and her coverage options characterize an attempt to beat those biases. She additionally covers the arguments surrounding the query of the "duty to die" and incorporates a provocative dialogue of immortality. After judiciously weighing the advantages and the hazards of prolonging human existence, total persuasively concludes that the size of lifestyles does subject and that its length could make a distinction to the standard and cost of our lives. Her ebook could be a necessary consultant as we contemplate our social obligations, the that means of human lifestyles, and the clients of residing longer.

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

Sample text

In my discussion in this book of the debate between apologism and prolongevitism and of their social-policy implications, I am concerned primarily with the implications of each of the two perspectives with respect to the extension of life during old age rather than with its expansion during earlier phases of life. I have three reasons for this focus. First, on a theoretical level, most of the historical and contemporary arguments about human longevity are directed at the advantages and liabilities of prolonging the last stages of life: philosophers and cultural commentators have been most interested in the positive and negative implications of extending old age, not childhood or adolescence.

Indeed, the dramatic increases in life expectancy in the twentieth century have already had an impact on earlier stages. For example, with respect to education, not only are individuals able to devote a growing number of years to training and education, but they are also likely to return for formal education at stages of their lives beyond the first two decades. To take another obvious example, if, as is possible in the West, a woman knows she is likely to live well past the age of sixty-five, at least partly because pregnancy and childbirth have become much safer, then she has at least one fewer reason for worrying about having children relatively late in her reproductive years.

This decline narrative, along with the other forms that ageism takes, acts as “a stressor, a depressant . . a psychocultural illness” that aªects almost every one of us (Gullette 1997a, 116). Hence, given the degree and extent of negative social interpretations of aging, we do not yet fully comprehend what is possible from those who are enabled to live healthy longer lives. Nor do we know what human lives would be like if they were not inevitably structured by “stages” replete with an ideology of expected decline.

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


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