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Truly Human EnhancementA Philosophical Defense of Limits$
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Nicholas Agar

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026635

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026635.001.0001

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The Moral Case against Radical Life Extension

The Moral Case against Radical Life Extension

(p.113) 6 The Moral Case against Radical Life Extension
Truly Human Enhancement

Nicholas Agar

The MIT Press

This chapter uses Aubrey de Grey’s plan to end aging as an example of the radical enhancement of human life spans. I present the enterprise of radically extending human life spans as requiring an immoral transfer. The central characters in vampire stories achieve radically extended existences by draining the blood of victims. In this act, life force, or something similar, is transferred from the human victim to the vampire. The concept of life force has no place in modern biology and this means that radical human life extenders simply could not arrange its transfer from disempowered donors to empowered recipients. The empowered do nevertheless acquire something from the disempowered that has consequences similar to supping on their blood – this is their participation in dangerous clinical trials. The empowered will achieve their extended life spans by effectively taking years from others. The mechanism by which these years are transferred differs from that in vampire stories, but its consequences are the same.

Keywords:   Negligible senescence, Aging as a disease, Disease of aging

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