The Tasks of Longevity Promotion: Science, Ethics and Public Policy – Potential presentation topics on longevity research

Ilia Stambler, PhD

Department of Science, Technology and Society. Bar Ilan University. Israel

The task of healthy life extension, or healthy longevity extension, dictates a broad variety of questions and tasks, relating to science and technology, individual and communal ethics, and finally public policy, especially health and research policy. Despite the wide variety, the related questions may be classified into 3 groups. The first group of questions concerns the feasibility of the accomplishment of life extension. Is it theoretically and technologically possible? What are our grounds for optimism? What are the means to ensure that the life extension will be healthy life extension? The second group concerns the desirability of the accomplishment of life extension for the individual and the society, provided it will become some day possible through scientific intervention. How will then life extension affect the perception of personhood? How will it affect the availability of resources for the population? Yet, the third and final group can be termed normative. What actions should we take? Assuming that life extension is scientifically possible and socially desirable, and that its implications are either demonstrably positive or, in case of a negative forecast, they are amenable – what practical implications should these determinations have for public policy, in particular health policy and research policy, in a democratic society? Should we pursue the goal of life extension? If yes, then how? How can we make it an individual and social priority? Given the rapid population aging and the increasing incidence and burden of age-related diseases, on the pessimistic side, and the rapid development of medical technologies, on the optimistic side, these become vital questions of social responsibility.

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