Open Lifespan, Luck Egalitarianism and Lifelong Radical Equality of Opportunity; 2 arguments

In Open Lifespan, Luck Egalitarianism and Lifelong Radical Equality of Opportunity, part 1 I introduced different equality of opportunity (EOP) concepts in the literature and quickly described radical luck egalitarianism related to radical EOP. After this I have radically extended the concept of (already) radical EOP by introducing 3 new types of (dis)advantages and corresponding EOPs along the line of being alive, when and for how long.

Today I formulate 2 arguments on why maximum (indefinitely long) healthy longevity technology aka the Open Healthspan and Open Lifespan scenario promotes an explicit form of radical luck egalitarianism I would dub as Lifelong Radical Equality of Opportunity by removing both natural and social obstacles, thereby minimalizing natural contingencies and social circumstances.

First let’s introduce the counterfactual and eminently possible biomedical scenario I use as a premise throughout the 2 arguments.

Open Lifespan Possible World

Here we consider Open Life as a possible world, where Open Healthspan Technologies are developed and accessible enough that all people can choose to go through continuous interventions to counteract the biological aging process and have a fixed, small but nonzero mortality rate due to external causes of death.

Open Lifespan is open-ended, indefinite healthy lifespan, ‘Open Life’ is a life lived with Open Lifespan. Open Lifespan is based on Open Healthspan a technological possibility to counteract ongoing biological aging processes in the human body, to keep age-associated functional decline and increasing mortality continuously at bay.

Open Life can refer to an individual life looked from a personal standpoint. But it can refer to an alternative, counterfactual possible world where all (most) people have Open Lifespan, so an Open Life Society. 

Argument #1 Inter-individual, Externally Comparative, Concurrent, Snapshot, Default

  1. (Radical EOP definition) Radical EOP is the neutralisation of bad brute luck.
  2. (Chronological age is a circumstance) DOB is contingent, chronological age is a circumstance. DOB is a chance, not a choice.
  3. (Scientific premise) Chronological age is strongly associated with biological aging and it is the biggest risk factor of chronic diseases, increasing mortality rates and functional decline.
  4. (Institutional ageism is discrimination) Institutional ageism is socially discriminating against older people. There’s a specific version of this based on the scientific premise and the connection between chronological and biological aging: 4/A (Institutional ageism) One source of institutional ageism is discriminating against the biologically worse-off. 
  5. (Institutional ageism leads to inequality of social opportunity) Discriminating against older (biologically worse-off) people leads to inequality of ‘social’ opportunity amongst people at different ages living at the same time.
  6. (Open Lifespan Possible World) Open Healthspan technologies are the scientifically/technologically only feasible tools of disconnecting handicaps of biological aging from chronological age.
  7. (Open Lifespan Possible World) Open Healthspan technologies remove the dominants source of age-related social discrimination.
  8. Conclusion: OL scenario provides radical equality of opportunity by neutralising bad brute luck of DOB/chronological age and implements lifelong, radical EOP of both the (Being/staying alive age-neutrally healthy EOP) kind and the Being/staying alive age-neutrally competent/functional EOP kind.

The argument above should be more ‘obvious’ for philosophers working with existing EOP and luck egalitarianism concepts. It is using externally comparative ie. inter-individual EOP formulations that focuses on removing obstacles to be able to compete under equal terms for positions within society. Granted, it is already using extended concepts of EOP introduced in the first post of the study as ‘Being/staying alive age-neutrally healthy EOP’ and ‘Being/staying alive age-neutrally competent/functional EOP kind’.

The next argument is still using these new lifelong EOP concepts but it leaves behind inter-individual competition to introduce the concept of intra-individual trajectory competition, whose equalisation should be the subject of a new EOP and absolute natural bad brute luck, that needs continuous neutralising under radical lifelong luck egalitarianism.

Argument #2  Intra-individual, Internally comparative, Consecutive, Trajectory, Extended

  1. (Radical EOP definition) Radical EOP is the neutralisation of bad brute luck. 
  2. (Chronological age is a chance) Chronological age is a circumstance. It is a chance, not a choice.
  3. (Scientific premise) Chronological age is strongly associated with biological aging and it is the biggest risk factor of chronic diseases, increasing mortality rates and functional decline.
  4. (Absolute biological bad brute luck) Biological aging is a non-relative form of absolute bad brute luck. A large structural defect of humanity (and mostly all sufficiently complex living things).
  5. (Intra-individual inequality of opportunity) Chronological aging leads to intra-individual inequality of opportunity between different life stages of the same individual. (See also ageism as differentiating against our future selves and temporal discounting, think of questions like Why do we celebrate 90 year old marathon runners and 42 year tennis players qualified for the Olympic Games?)
  6. (Open Lifespan Possible World) Open Healthspan technologies are the scientifically/technologically only feasible tools of disconnecting handicaps of biological aging from chronological age.
  7. (Open Lifespan Possible World) Open Healthspan technologies remove the dominant source of age-related intra-individual self-discrimination and circumstantial compromise of rational life plans.
  8. Conclusion: OL scenario provides radical equality of opportunity by neutralising bad brute luck of DOB/chronological age and implements lifelong, radical EOP of both the (Being/staying alive age-neutrally healthy EOP) kind and the Being/staying alive age-neutrally competent/functional EOP kind.

I built both arguments in a parallel manner to show the strong analogy between the 2. The first 3 premises are the same. There’s a strong analogy between intra- and inter-individual competing life stages. Both argument are using both natural and social disadvantages due to the ageing process, albeit in a different manner. The 2 arguments are distinct arguments though, so if one wants to come up with objections, need to think a bit harder.

The scientific premises I don’t need to spell out here, if interested to learn more, please take a look at the posts trying to define biological aging.

There’s one more position that can be delineated in the context of Open Lifespan and Lifelong Equality of Opportunity and it relates to total EOP aka EOP by lottery. I aim to talk about that in the next post.