Monday, May 13, 2013

Social Philosophy and Policy Paper Accepted for Publication

My paper entitled "Empirical Ethics and the Duty to Extend the "Biological Warranty Period"" has been accepted for publication in the journal Social Philosophy and Policy.

This paper represents, at least to date, my most substantive (and I hope significant) publication on the duty to retard human aging. Here is the abstract:

The world’s aging populations face novel health challenges never experienced before in human history. The moral landscape thus needs to adapt to reflect this novel empirical reality. In this paper I take for granted one basic moral principle- a principle of preventing bad occurrences (Peter Singer, 1972)- and explore the implications empirical considerations from demography, evolutionary biology and biogerontology have for the way we conceive of fulfilling this principle at the operational level. After bringing to the fore a number of considerations Singer ignores, such as the probability that non-intervention will result in harm and the likelihood that different kinds of extrinsic and intrinsic harms can be prevented, I argue that the aspiration to extend the human biological warranty period (by retarding the rate of aging) is a pressing moral imperative for the 21st century. In the final sections I briefly address some standard objections raised against life extension and conclude that, while there may be some legitimate concerns worth addressing, they are not compelling enough to provide a rational basis for forfeiting the potential health and economic benefits which could be realized by extending the biological warranty period.

In the video presentation above I detail part of the argument advanced in the article. The article itself is over 40 pages in length, so the video is a brief summary of some of the substantive parts of the argument.