Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 5, Open Problems

In the last 4 posts of this study I’ve built up an argument showing the need for a definition of biological aging that consolidates existing consensus knowledge  in the field but also flexible enough to incorporate new knowledge within that current paradigm. 

This is still not the final formulation, but this is what I have right now:

‘Biological aging is agings underneath, the result of multiple, separate, diverse, interconnected, but malleable processes, eventually compromising normal functions of the organism at different rates and at all (organisational, spatiotemporal) levels.’

What are some open problems left with this definition?

I see two main problems, one is related to causality, the other related to what I call the ‘computability’ of the definition.  Continue reading “Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 5, Open Problems”

Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 4, Success criteria

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

In the second part Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 2, Explication we argued why the ‘need and must’ to come up with a consensus definition and that there’s strong reasons it should be a so called explicative definition a la Carnap.

In the third part, Aging is agings: a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 3, Recursion we explained what recursion means in the proposed definition and how it is structured further. Also we have added one modification to the proposed definitions, that is now the following:

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

Today we connect the second, explicative and third, recursive parts by going back to the 4 criteria Carnap lists for a  – good, or at least functional – scientific explicatum to meet: 

i., similarity to the explicandum, 

ii., exactness to introduce the explicatum ‘into a well-connected system of scientific concepts’,

iii., fruitfulness to be useful in formulating empirical laws or logical theorems, I take this feature roughly the same as scientific ‘utility’, ‘applicability’ or ‘productivity’,

iv., simplicity as simple as possible and allowed by the above 3 criteria.

In what follows I fill in the blanks in the separate rows of the success criteria column concerning the proposed recursive solution and will also add 2 additional criteria, that of flexibility and formal correctness. Continue reading “Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 4, Success criteria”

The rabbit hole of temporal causation and biological aging

This is part 2 of my series on causation and aging. Last time I introduced the ladder of causation in aging where the bottom step of the ladder was also the most mysterious one that seems to be so intimately linked with all things aging that many people cannot think further: time. Our guiding questions were: How can time play a causal role in bringing about different forms of aging, and in our case, more specifically: can time be factored in as a cause in any conceptual or empirical sense of the diverse processes of biological aging? Here’s the edited slide I presented on this during my PhD seminar talk in Budapest. 

First of all, let’s note that the literature of biological aging research can provide several examples where the linguistic expression used to describe time’s connection to biological aging is suggestive of causality. Continue reading “The rabbit hole of temporal causation and biological aging”

Slides of my Budapest ELTE Philosophy PhD seminar talk on aging definitions

Please see slightly edited slides – removed some basically – of my talk I’ve given at the Institute of Philosophy, Eotvos University, Budapest, on the 25th of October, 2019. The talk was a joint Theoretical Philosophy Forum (TPF) and Student and Faculty Seminar on Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics (LaPom). The seminar gave me a great opportunity to focus on the theoretical/conceptual problems concerning the biological aging/longevity complex, that is the underlying core of the Open Lifespan studies. I’ve focused mainly on 2 problems: the definition of biological aging and causation in aging. Concerning the definition I’ve already published the following posts:

Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 3, Recursion

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

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

Now it’s time to start to focus on the causation part.

Aging is agings: a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 3, Recursion

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, separate, diverse, interconnected, but malleable processes, eventually compromising normal functions of the organism at different rates and at all levels.

In the second part Aging is agings: towards a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 2, Explication we argued why the ‘need and must’ to come up with a consensus definition and that there’s strong reasons it should be a so called explicative definition a la Carnap.

Today we arrive at the heart of the heart of the heart our definition, recursion. 🙂 Continue reading “Aging is agings: a recursive definition of biological aging(s); part 3, Recursion”

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

Aging is agings: 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: 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”