Ethics of Life Extension

Ethics of Life Extension

Life extension is the most popular of biotechnology’s promised benefits. Yet many, fearing longer years will mean more disability, pain poverty and dependence, insist they do not want  longevity beyond eighty or ninety years. I will review the survey data on attitudes towards life extension, and the principal ethical arguments for and against radical longevity. Arguments against include the appeal to nature, and undesirable psychological and social consequences. Arguments for include the value of life and undesirability of death, the ethical and legal right to life extension, that there are desirable social consequences, i.e. a “longevity dividend”, and technological inevitability.



James Hughes, Ph.D., Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, Willington, CT.



Turner, Leigh. “Biotechnology, bioethics and anti-aging interventions,” Trends in Biotechnology 22.5 (May 2004): 219-221.

Farrelly, Colin. “Equality and the Duty to Retard Human Ageing,” Bioethics 24.8 (2010): 384-394.


Powerpoint: 20150708-LifeExtensionEthics [Compatibility Mode]

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