Open Lifespan via conservatism: a defence of human life as existing value, part 1


Open Lifespan (OL) is the philosophy of biomedical longevity thinking itself and its limits. Its central part seems to be rooted in political philosophy, but not in the sense of applied ethics, so the task is to re-apply existing concepts in this discipline in order to illuminate its own problematics and in order to seek potential answers to t he problems of those pre-OL political philosophies. The original formulation of OL philosophy started referring to and in the context of the central and centrist liberal tradition, but now it’s time to look to the left and to the right for further considerations and new angles. At the time of this writing, this means looking into Marxian formulations on the left, and libertarian and perhaps conservative conceptualisations on the right. Generally, political philosophy as a political tradition, as well as an academic discipline ignored health and life expectancy issues actively and down-prioritised the central role these issues play in the life of individuals and institutions, so this tradition has a lot to compensate for.

For a starter let’s cite from Open Future: Open Life(span) as a foundation to reinvent liberalism:

Strange as it sounds but Open Lifespan is about conserving life if viewed from an unbiased angle. It is about conserving, maintaining human life using what we are familiar with as human life as its starting point. Open Lifespan is life conservatism at its most revolutionary, as I said it earlier when immersing this thought into liberal thinking.

G.A.Cohen’s Resucing Conservatism essay

The philosophically deepest formulation of conservatism I’ve found so far was G.A. Cohen’s unfinished Rescuing Conservatism: A Defense of Existing  Value, Chapter 8 of Finding Oneself in the Other

Cohen says his conservatism is of a Hegelian type, by which he means exploring ‘modes of finding oneself in the other’, where ‘the subject is at peace with the object’.

In our current essay, we use his deep conceptual advances and apply it to a mode of finding and re-finding oneself in oneself, in the longer term. This is eminently doable, as Cohen himself does not say, his small c conservatism only applies in a Hegelian, ‘other’ setting and as it actually requires intellectual effort to realise the value of human longevity. What we loose though, apparently, is the Hegelian ‘subject-object’ type-of conservatism, which is not that big of a sacrifice to make in our context. 

The meat of Cohen’s assay is distinguishing between the following 3 kinds of conservative dispositions or attitudes.

3 cases:

  1. Valuing the valuable -> Particular Valuing
  2. Valuing the valued -> Personal Valuing
  3. Accepting the given

In what follows we introduce all 3 of them. Continue reading “Open Lifespan via conservatism: a defence of human life as existing value, part 1”

OL and the economy of time, part 4: how and why can Open Lifespan society be classless?

In the previous, third part of our study we introduced our main thesis defining  Open Life Society as the Free Association of Open Lifespan (Citizen) Producers. We started to work out an argument, using only the vocabulary of OH workers and OL citizens leading to the conclusion that in an OL Society that can be characterised as Free Association of Open Lifespan (Citizen) Producers, literally everybody should do OH duties for that OL society to qualify as such.

In other words the defining feature of OL Society is OH technology and work, and in terms of social roles it means OH workers are the one defining this society.

For the basic thought experiment and vocabulary please check Open Lifespan Possible World part of Part 2.

The main bundle of problems I’d like to discuss today is related to whether such an OL society can be described as a class society?

The crucial problem to analyse here is whether OH workers in an OL society can form an actual economic class in the Marxian sense.

The answer is an unambiguous NO, OH workers cannot form a class and hence OL society is not a class society. But we need to leave behind some conceptual sweat before we can reach this conclusion. So let’s start the intellectual exercise.

First, I introduce the concept of class, class division, class society, class oppression, class struggle following mainly G.A. Cohen’s reading of Marx.

Second, I specify the Open Lifespan possible world a bit further to situate the class-question.

Third, I introduce separate arguments to show why OH workers cannot form a proper class in an OL society.

Fourth, I try to describe the role of OH worker further by describing it as a mandatory social role.

Continue reading “OL and the economy of time, part 4: how and why can Open Lifespan society be classless?”