A quick memo for today: you, who are reading this, you are poor. I, the one writing this, I am poor. We are poor as with the help of biomedical technology we could live much longer, healthier lives but at the current state of affairs we won’t. Most think … well they don’t think about it in the first place. Some think it is not within our reach. Wrong. Some think they are so rich in other respects, they cannot even be poor in any other respect. Their domain of rich is so poor they don’t recognise the domain, the playground itself has no obvious limits. How poor is that?
Before am getting too rhetorical, emotional, political here (why not?) let’s hash out this fundamental poorness conceptually a bit.
This is a Daily Effort, which is a quicker, shorter piece, grown out of usually a same-day thought, reading, see earlier efforts.
According to Thomas Nagel the central ethical question of political theory is to work out and then synchronise together the impersonal standpoint human individuals are capable of and the personal standpoints they actually have.
Justification in political theory must address itself to people twice: first as occupants of the impersonal standpoint and second as occupants of particular roles within an impersonally acceptable system. This is not capitulation of human badness or weakness, but a necessary acknowledgement of human complexity. To ignore the second task is to risk utopianism in the bad sense.
Almost all philosophers are giving out hints about their views on what philosophy is or frequently express their metaphilosophy explicitly. Uniquely amongst academic disciplines, philosophy has the tools to conceptualise itself and its methods. I’m not a particularly metaphilosophical philosopher but it seems that for a more complete analysis of Open Lifespan philosophy it’s better to develop the outlines of the metaphilosophy behind to stay on the exoteric side.
Anthropocentrism is also known by other names as humanocentrism, human-centeredness or human exceptionalism. It has something to do with attributing a special significance to humans in the universe.
According to the Environmental Ethics entry of Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy strong anthropocentrism only assigns intrinsic value to human beings alone. So intrinsic value, whatever it would be, is captured in absolute terms and applied only to humans.
In weak anthropocentrism value assignment gets relative and quantitative by human beings representing greater amount of intrinsic value than any non-human things.
Ecological thinkers and environmental ethicists have a rather easy job finding traces of anthropocentrism in the works of canonical thinkers of Western philosophy.
Object-oriented ontology also attacks and rejects anthropocentrism and moves away from epistemological approaches.
Last time I’ve introduced the principle of life’s default positivity, and the first formula provided was the one used by Thomas Nagel in his Death essay:
It is good simply to be alive.
Another way to phrase this is comparatively
It’s better to be alive than dead.
Let me introduce now a potential counterargument, extracted from the words of one of my favourite fictional characters, Rosencrantz, played by Garry Oldman in Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Mind you, this is Stoppard’s but not Shakespeare’s Rosencrantz, speaking. How about watching it first:
The thesis or principle I’d like to introduce today is a (possibly) central thesis behind Open Lifespan philosophy and I’ll keep coming back to it throughout this blog and book in the making. I’m going to extract it first from Thomas Nagel’s masterful and dense essay, Death, originally published in Noûs, in 1970 but am actually going to use the edited version published in Mortal Questions, in 1979.
Then I simply try to provide different formulations. So no arguments today, just a start to understand this principle by stating it and have a glimpses at the heavy philosophical concepts behind it.
Nagel’s main problem in the essay is to investigate why and how and when death can be a misfortune (evil, bad) to the persons who died. And it has to do something with bringing ‘to an end all the goods that life contains’.
And in this context the principle is first stated as an ‘allegiation’ that
It is good simply to be alive, even if one is undergoing terrible experiences.
So first formula
1. It is good simply to be alive.
Let’s continue here cause this leads to another formulation of the principle:
Our daily today is posing a heavy philosophical question: can we build a better self without building a better world? For understanding the level of this question one needs to take a moral/ethical concept of the self granted. But we don’t need to dig into the depth of the malleability of personal identity, but mostly focus on our narrative, social construct of our selves that is a prime bearer of moral values and changes and agent of moral decisions. Continue reading “Daily Effort: Can we build a better self without building a better world?”
In the opening post of this blog I started by saying ‘Life extension’ as a term referring to healthy longevity technologies and attempts just does not cut it anymore and I cited luxury as one reason. There’s another important reason, coming from the already existing medical use of this term to ditch this concept to be used for our Open Lifespan purposes. The terms ‘life extension’, ‘extending life’ are used in the medical context to provide extra days, weeks, months to late stage, terminally diseased people, think of a final stage lung cancer patient. Continue reading “Daily Effort: Life extension belongs to the ICU, Open Lifespan belongs to everybody”
Attempting a new post series called Daily Effort: a dense expression of an Open Lifespan/Open Healthspan related idea (question, argument, proposal …) in a couple of sentences. Without context or tight, detailed argumentation. Consider these as drafts, some of them will be elaborated upon, some of them will be revoked if don’t stand up to scrutiny. In any case, these are my drafts here am working on, reaching a stage where it might be interesting for others too. Let’s go.