Health and longevity: conceptual twins, separated at birth

The following section is an excerpt from my HDAC paper that I’ve finalised today, as I’m giving a talk in London on the HDAC conference on the 9th of September. I’m happy that finally I have articulated this problem, cause it was the back of my mind for long and always seen framings around approaching the topic of healthy longevity without reflecting to this conceptual issue, that might or might not have serious policy consequences. I think, the way it is formulated is standalone and no need to read the full paper to understand it. So here we go. Continue reading “Health and longevity: conceptual twins, separated at birth”

When the best answer is that we don’t know

To Aubrey de Grey who dared to put a number on our uncertainty concerning the prospect of comprehensive biological rejuvenation

In the early 90s as a high school student interested in the natural sciences, I went to listen to a talk by Ede Teller, the controversial ‘father of the hydrogen bomb’. Much to my surprise, Teller, in his early 80s  & sitting on the top of a table at the ELTE University in Budapest, answered one question the following way: ‘Erre tudom a pontos választ. Nem tudom.’ which translates as: ‘I know the exact answer to this question. I don’t know.’ This honest bon mot captures an epistemological puzzle: sometimes acknowledging well informed uncertainty is the adequate form of a valid answer. How come?

One problem with seasoned experts in science and technology is that exactly what makes them experts in the first place is what limits them acknowledging when sometimes the exact answer just cannot be provided. But when the scientific and technological question has a potentially long running impact on human society and Planet Earth, acknowledging the lack of a definite scientific position becomes even more challenging. In these cases, not just individual professional credit is at stake but pre-scientific moral integrity and post-scientific political responsibility. 

An emerging prime example for such a problem is scientists, technologists commenting on the possible limits of what we can achieve in terms of human longevity with ever more advanced biomedical technology. How far can we extend healthy life expectancy? Can we possibly break the maximum human lifespan barrier? If yes, when are we going to hit the next roadblock, if ever? Please note that these questions are usually take the form of what philosophers call modal questions, asking about the practical possibility, the feasibility of some science intensive technological scenario. Continue reading “When the best answer is that we don’t know”

Open Lifespan talk at Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana

I was invited by Professor Igor Pribac to give a quick talk on Open Lifespan at a bioethics seminar at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana. It was an online seminar performed via Google Hangouts. I was explicitly asked to talk some Rawls in this context, see the core material used. Thank you for Professor Pribac for giving me this important opportunity and extra thanks for Martin Lipovsek for helping me realise it. Here are the slides in case you wondered, I put all of them together in the 2 hours before the talk so they are far from being perfect to use an overstatement.

The missing political philosophy of microstates: longevity, between survival and luxury; conclusion and action

In the first part of our study we have summarised and introduced our ‘thesis’ and provided context for the study in terms of literature and the reasons for the lack of satisfactory research in political science and philosophy in terms of microstates.

In the second installment we’ve detailed the components of the longevitarian political philosophy of microstates.

Today we re-phrase and enrich those features in the conclusion and mention some flash points for action. Continue reading “The missing political philosophy of microstates: longevity, between survival and luxury; conclusion and action”

The missing political philosophy of microstates: longevity, between survival and luxury, part 2

In the first part of our study we have summarised and introduced our ‘thesis’ and provided context for the study in terms of literature and the reasons for the lack of satisfactory research in political science and philosophy in terms of microstates.

Today we get to the meat of the matter by detailing the building blocks of our ‘thesis’. Continue reading “The missing political philosophy of microstates: longevity, between survival and luxury, part 2”

The missing political philosophy of microstates: longevity, between survival and luxury, part 1

I’m still hesitating about using ‘scarcity and abundance’ instead of ‘survival and luxury’, but latter might be more eye-catching. 🙂

Starting a new study here that grew out of the Jonathan Floyd series on Normative Behaviourism but it is a standalone topic. The first part contains a Summary, an Introduction, a Literature and a Critical section.

Summary

Microstates are political sovereignties whose minimal spatiality allows them to focus on extended temporality. On one hand, the history of microstates prominently features survival events and dependence on the outer world. On the other hand, the current permissive international system grants unprecedented freedom for microstates to pick-and-choose strategies to prosper and sell sovereign pregoragitves to find their own unique niche. The richness of alternative routes that can be taken, the worlds of possibilities, nurtures luxury in many microstates. Abundance makes microstates overrepresented amongst states as top performers for health care and life expectancy. Health and longevity as top priority political goals faces huge obstacles in bigger, lead political actor states, (under)performing on centre stage. Some microstates have a timely (historical?) chance to take a lead in implementing the most advanced health politics and aim for a niche to participate, organise, conduct, provide infrastructure for projects to develop the biomedical tools needed for ongoing progress in healthy longevity. The first, decisive round of these developments can take place in the shortest amount of time, but only for microstates in a demonstrative way starting small scale to elicit large scale changes. Microstate citizenship schemes can enable participation for the world-wide longevity community. This is normative, active political philosophy here walking on two legs to reach actuality. Continue reading “The missing political philosophy of microstates: longevity, between survival and luxury, part 1”

Capabilities and Open Lifespan proposal for HDCA 2019 Conference accepted

Pleased to announce here that my proposal for the HDCA 2019 Conference has been accepted as a full academic paper. You can read proposal here, and it’s called Capabilities and Open Lifespan; Martha Nussbaum’s problematic first capability concerning the end of a human life of normal length.

One necessary condition for this to happen was Martha Nussbaum’s personal email suggestion to submit a paper. I’m grateful for that.

The proposal was peer reviewed and here’s 3 overall recommendations of the 3 reviewers: Continue reading “Capabilities and Open Lifespan proposal for HDCA 2019 Conference accepted”

Are Social-Liberal-Democracies exclusively suited to improve health and longevity of their citizens? The Jonathan Floyd series, part 5

This is the 5th post inspired by Jonathan Floyd’s book, Is political philosophy impossible? that started a new methodology (paradigm, revolution?) called normative behaviourism (NB). The posts so far can be read here.

Today we are going to do a little empirical exercise (DATA!) to show that while social-liberal-democracies (SLDs) are doing good when it comes about being top performers in health/life expectancy but this performance is by now means limited to SLDs. There might be some confounding variables at play here and the conclusion poses a problem for NB. Continue reading “Are Social-Liberal-Democracies exclusively suited to improve health and longevity of their citizens? The Jonathan Floyd series, part 5”

If EU elections were to happen in the UK this spring, I might as well be a candidate to represent longevity politics

Current political climate is crazy. What’s alternative and what’s not in terms of the near future concerning the country I live in is as clear as a warthog in a mud bath. As a result am getting radicalised (better term would be practicalised) on the inside to do something for actual longevity politics. Here’s the idea in 2 tweets.