Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Forthcoming Journal Publication on Davis and Life Extension

My latest paper entitled "Aging, Equality and the Human Healthspan" has been accepted for publication in the journal Healthcare Ethics Committee ForumThe article is a critical analysis of this interesting book.  The abstract:

John Davis (2018) advances a novel ethical analysis of longevity science  that employs a three-fold methodology of examining the impact of life extension technologies on three distinct groups- the “Haves”, the “Have-nots” and the “Will-nots”.  In this essay I critically examine the egalitarian analysis Davis deploys with respect to its ability to help us theorize about the moral significance of an applied gerontological intervention.  Rather than focusing on futuristic scenarios of radical life extension, I offer a rival egalitarian analysis that takes seriously (1) the health vulnerabilities of today’s aging populations, (2) the health inequalities of the “aging status quo” and (3) the prospects for the fair diffusion of an aging intervention over the not-so-distant future.  Despite my reservations about Davis’s focus on “life-extension” vs increasing the human “healthspan”, I agree with his central conclusion that an aging intervention would be, on balance, a good thing and that we should fund such research aggressively.  But I make an even stronger case and conjecture that an intervention that slows down the rate of molecular and cellular decline from the inborn aging process will likely be one of the most important public health advancements of the 21st century.  This is so because aging is the most prevalent risk factor for chronic disease, frailty and disability, and it is estimated that there will be over 2 billion persons age > 60 by the year 2050.