What is it like to be 572 year old? Self-Imagining Open Lifespan; part 2, times

In What is it like to be 572 year old? Self-imagining Open Lifespan; part 1, slides from 2017 I introduced a thought experiment through slides, sort of en masse and in medias res. Time to step back and get a bit methodological.

Today I would like to introduce a philosophical phenomenon that continue to surprise me to this day, so I still don’t have a settled theory about it. I’m hoping to reach at least a temporary solution though by writing about it. It is related to thought experimentation and offers at least 2 different ways to imagine ourselves being 572 years old and healthy.

Possible worlds and methodology: times, worlds and selves

At this point, I recommend reading Open Lifespan within the possible world framework to get a glimpse on how the default possible world toolset is being used here.

To briefly put: possible worlds describe possible – largely, but not necessary spatiotemporal – situations that express of something being the case. Possible worlds are accessible from each other through an accessibility relation that can be defined various ways. 

Now, the new stuff: The basic concepts where I start to approach my object are times, worlds and selves. One might make the hypothesis that every thought experiment involving human beings will need to set or automatically sets at least 3 parameters: times, worlds and selves. Continue reading “What is it like to be 572 year old? Self-Imagining Open Lifespan; part 2, times”

What is it like to be 572 year old? Self-imagining Open Lifespan; part 1, slides from 2017

When I got back to the philosophical problems and project of healthy longevity in 2017, after defending my philosophy MS thesis about it in 2005 and spending the next long decade in science and bioinformatics, one of the first problem I’ve found was that of distant self-imagination. This seemed to me as core and also well-defined problem that can be handled with the toolset of analytical philosophy quite well. I’ve found the relevant literature quick and thought and wrote a lot about it, to myself. Then, I realised there’s a relevant branch of psychological research looking into distant self-simulation with interesting results. What I came up with then, as objectivation, was a thought experiment that I turned into an actual little empirical survey as I’ve asked 4 different people to do a series of thought experiments. Here’s the informal slides I presented two them, without the results I typed into some tables during the interaction. 2 years later am now ready to write up the philosophical study in subsequent post and also am happy to report that I managed to find actual psychologists who have taken up on the idea and did a survey including hundreds of people, I presented some results in Brussels in 2018, and a paper is under peer review.

Recursive Aging Definition talk submission at ICPST 2020, in Prague

Just submitted the following abstract to International Conference on Philosophy of Sciences and Technology happening in Prague, 2020. Not sure whether this is the place to go with stuff like this, but giving it a try.

Title: Aging is agings: towards a consensus recursive definition of biological aging(s)

Abstract: Current clinically focused biological aging research, or translational geroscience is going through incredible progress. There’s finally an emerging scientific consensus about our understanding of the major molecular and cellular hallmark processes driving biological aging.

Yet, this consensus is not reflected in a consensus definition of what biological aging is. In the literature, for some reason, almost all scientists feel compelled to come up with their own introductory definitions of aging usually as the first sentence, or part of the first paragraph, of the introduction of their respective papers. Not too surprisingly these opinions on what biological aging is differ a lot, yielding highly idiosyncratic ‘definitions’ that were never accepted as consensus views within the research community. So the problem is while the underlying science goes strong, the conceptual top level, acknowledging this situation, is strangely neglected.

How can the philosophy of science help here with its sophisticated conceptual and logical toolset? By suggesting a good definition! Continue reading “Recursive Aging Definition talk submission at ICPST 2020, in Prague”

Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 2, Explication

In the first part of this study, Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 1, definition the following definition of biological aging(s) was introduced:

Biological aging is agings underneath, the result of multiple, diverse, separate but malleable processes, eventually compromising normal functions of the organism at different rates and at all levels.

Today it is explication time to build up the argument behind this definition. I have 4 points to offer today in the forms of questions and brief descriptive hints in the titles, here they are.

#1 What is the most confusing thing about biological aging? It’s diversity, plurality and broad-spectrum

#2 Why we need to come up with a good working definition of biological aging? Because current status looks like a prescientific and confusing mess

#3 Why we must come up with a good consensus definition? To acknowledge and further the emerging consensus framework within aging research

#4 What kind of definition we would like to come up with? An explicative one, both stipulative and descriptive, innovative and conservative at the same time Continue reading “Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 2, Explication”

World Philosophy Day: ideas of philosophers helping Open Lifespan, 2019 edition

Celebrate World Philosophy Day: ideas of philosophers helping Open Lifespan mentioned 6 philosophers (5 alive, 1 dead) whose works in 2018 helped me a lot to formulate questions, problems and answers concerning the philosophy of longevity. Today I add 4 more to the list who influenced me a lot since then and highlight the actual work I was engaging with. Happy to report that all of these 4 philosophers are alive and kicking and also that I made some sort of contact with all of them. After the name, there’s a highlighted philosophical entity (concept, argument …) which provided me with the biggest amount of intellectual fuel. Thank you philosophers! Continue reading “World Philosophy Day: ideas of philosophers helping Open Lifespan, 2019 edition”

Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 1, Definition

In the earlier post with the terrible title of What is the philosophy of biological aging research/biogerontology/translational geroscience/? Problems I listed the following as Problem #1:

What is a good working definition of biological aging, that is formally correct, scalable, yet flexible enough to incorporate new knowledge and can be used to design interventions to counteract it? 

In what follows I propose such a definition and it sounds like this:

Biological aging is agings underneath, the result of multiple, diverse, separate but malleable processes, eventually compromising normal functions of the organism at different rates and at all levels.

The definition of biological aging(s) proposed in this study

This definition of biological aging is a formally correct recursive definition, that is non-circular, consisting of a couple of bases cases serving to explain the more composite processes, being able to scale up at all levels Continue reading “Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 1, Definition”

List of criteria to qualify as a central concept/process of biological aging

In the earlier post with the terrible title of What is the philosophy of biological aging research/biogerontology/translational geroscience/? Problems I listed the following as Problem #2:

Problem #2: 2/A. What are the criteria for a biological structure/dynamics to qualify for being central in organismal level, multicellular biological aging? A corresponding question (2/B) concerning the translational aspect of geroscience might be: What quantifies/qualifies as a central biomedical structure/dynamics for being used as a medical application in counteracting human biological aging and to inform both diagnosis and treatment? A related background question: Is it possible and desirable to cut across biological pluralism concerning translational geroscience?

In my perspective paper called Cell lineage trees: the central structure plus key dynamics of biological aging and formulating the limiting problem of comprehensive organismal rejuvenation, I worked out a possible list of such criteria and provided an answer for question 2/A. Here is the corresponding, standalone excerpt from the ~30 page perspective paper.

What do we expect from a central concept, structure, process of organismal biological aging? This question is about the potential expressiveness, explanatory, predictive and modelling power of a scientific tool. We list 10 requirements, grouped according to 6 bigger concepts, highlighted in bold. Continue reading “List of criteria to qualify as a central concept/process of biological aging”

What is the philosophy of biological aging research/biogerontology/translational geroscience/? Problems

After the Introduction into the emerging field of philosophy biological aging research/biogerontology/translational geroscience I promised some actual questions, problems. I list different questions under different problems but otherwise do not differentiate questions from problems by now. 

In a way, the perspective papers, opinion pieces, review studies published in peer-reviewed literature about biological aging contain a lot, mostly implicit, formulations already that can be called philosophical problems and arguments. But time to make these more explicit and reflect to them as such.

Here is my starter list of problems and questions.

Problem #1: What is a good working definition of biological aging, that is formally correct, scalable, yet flexible enough to incorporate new knowledge and can be used to design interventions to counteract it? Continue reading “What is the philosophy of biological aging research/biogerontology/translational geroscience/? Problems”

What is the philosophy of biological aging research/biogerontology/translational geroscience/? Introduction

So far on the course of Open Lifespan the fact that my number one professional occupation is being an active aging/longevity biologist (working at an aging/longevity startup) remained quite hidden, with a reason. While Open Lifespan is an attempt to formulate ethical, political, metaphysical and psychological questions and answers around our biomedically possible, upper limit healthy longevity trajectory, the following attempt below tries to investigate the science itself, the biological and medical (together: biomedical) problems of aging and longevity. 

I would introduce here the philosophy of biological aging research /biogerontology/translational geroscience as a new, expected sub-discipline within the broadly defined field of philosophy of biology trying to frame conceptual problems and work out solutions concerning our state-of-the-art understanding of biological aging and the interventions designed to counteract it. Continue reading “What is the philosophy of biological aging research/biogerontology/translational geroscience/? Introduction”

Upcoming Talk at Eötvös University in Budapest on aging vs agings and the limits of biomedical definitions

I was invited to give a talk at the Institute of Philosophy, Eotvos University, Budapest, on the 25th of October. The talk is going to be a joint Theoretical Philosophy Forum (TPF) and Student and Faculty Seminar on Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics (LaPom). I’d like to thank Professor László E. Szabó and András Máté for the invitation. The nature of the seminar gives me a great opportunity to focus on the theoretical problems concerning to the philosophy of biomedical sciences, so on the aging part of the aging/longevity complex, that is the underlying core of the Open Lifespan studies.

Please see talk, abstract and short bio below.

Aging vs agings: limits and consequences of biomedical definitions

Abstract

Currently, most people spend the last decades of their lives fighting multiple, chronic, age-associated diseases, compromising their life plans. Continue reading “Upcoming Talk at Eötvös University in Budapest on aging vs agings and the limits of biomedical definitions”