Life-Extension and the Malthusian Objection
Davis, John K.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2005 February; 30(1): 27-44
Dramatically extending the human lifespan seems increasingly possible. Many bioethicists object that life-extension will have Malthusian consequences as new Methuselahs accumulate, generation by generation. I argue for a Life-Years Response to the Malthusian Objection. If even a minority of each generation chooses life- extension, denying it to them deprives them of many years of extra life, and their total extra life-years are likely to exceed the total life-years of a majority who do not want life-extension. This is a greater harm to those who want extended life than the Malthusian harms to those who refuse extended life, both because losing an extra year of life is worse than enduring a year of Malthusian conditions, and because the would-be Methuselahs have more life-years at stake. Therefore, even if life-extension seems likely to cause severe overcrowding and resource shortages, that threat is not sufficient to justify society in restricting the development or availability of life-extension.
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The Prolongevists Speak Up: The Life-Extension Ethics Session at the 10th Annual Congress of the International Association of Biomedical Gerontology Davis, John K. (2004-09)Life-extension was the focus for the 10th annual Congress of the International Association of Biomedical Gerontology, held last September at Cambridge University. This scientific convention included a panel of several ...