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Longevity Promotion: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

by Ilia Stambler, PhD
Ilia Stambler

The task of healthy life extension, or healthy longevity promotion, dictates a broad and interconnected variety of questions and tasks, relating to science and technology, individual and communal ethics, as well as public policy, especially health and research policy.

Despite the wide variety, the related questions may be classified into a tripartite taxonomy.
The first group of questions concerns the feasibility of the accomplishment of longevity extension. Is it theoretically and technologically possible? What are our grounds for optimism? What are the means to ensure that the longevity extension will be healthy longevity extension? 

The second group concerns the desirability of the accomplishment of extended healthy longevity for the individual and the society, provided it will become some day possible through scientific intervention. How will then longevity 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 normativeWhat actions should we take? Assuming that longevity 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 longevity 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.
These questions can only be considered in an integrated systemic manner. Without the consideration of feasibility and desirability, any suggestion for action would be meaningless.

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