Upcoming Talk at Eötvös University in Budapest on aging vs agings and the limits of biomedical definitions

I was invited to give a talk at the Institute of Philosophy, Eotvos University, Budapest, on the 25th of October. The talk is going to be a joint Theoretical Philosophy Forum (TPF) and Student and Faculty Seminar on Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics (LaPom). I’d like to thank Professor László E. Szabó and András Máté for the invitation. The nature of the seminar gives me a great opportunity to focus on the theoretical problems concerning to the philosophy of biomedical sciences, so on the aging part of the aging/longevity complex, that is the underlying core of the Open Lifespan studies.

Please see talk, abstract and short bio below.

Aging vs agings: limits and consequences of biomedical definitions

Abstract

Currently, most people spend the last decades of their lives fighting multiple, chronic, age-associated diseases, compromising their life plans. Continue reading “Upcoming Talk at Eötvös University in Budapest on aging vs agings and the limits of biomedical definitions”

Sridhar Venkatapuram’s Health Justice and Open Lifespan

The following excerpt is the edited second part of the Health and longevity: conceptual twins, separated at birth chapter of my HDCA paper (see slides of my talk) analysing the first proposed central capability I presented in early September at UCL in London. See earlier installations of this study here.

The point of this post is to connect the Open Lifespan project to an already existing approach within the Capability Approach. Here it goes.

Concerning health-centric approaches, there’s a separate strand of literature around health justice within the Capability Approach, where the current discussion is driven by the reception of Sridhar Venkatapuram’s book, Health Justice:An Argument from the Capabilities Approach published in 2011. We abbreviate this approach as CH, adopting Venkatapuram’s own usage, standing for the ‘capability to be healthy’.

Continue reading “Sridhar Venkatapuram’s Health Justice and Open Lifespan”

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 Open Lifespan answer to Jonathan Floyd’s political philosophy organising question: how should we live? Tens of arguments

This is the 4th 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:

Open Lifespan and Green political philosophy as single-trend approaches; reading Jonathan Floyd

The Open Lifespan answer to Jonathan Floyd’s political philosophy organising question: how should we live? Preparations

Blind spot of academic political philosophy: not recognising health as a political incentive and healthy longevity as a political goal

Floyd has used NB in his book to argue for social-liberal-democracy (SLD) as the (only) convincing and meaningful answer to the organising question of political philosophy: how should we live?

Our post today is the most relevant one concerning Open Lifespan, the main reason I studied Floyd’s book in the first place. Today, I’m going to demonstrate through a series of arguments that Open Lifespan as a political philosophy also picks out social-liberal-democracy as a compelling (convincing) and politically determinate (meaningful) answer to the foundational question of political philosophy, Floyd poses: how should we live?

Briefly put, the Open Lifespan answer to the question of how should we live: We should live indefinitely longer and healthier as by doing so we ‘exponentially’ enhance all the core elements of social-liberal-democracy (SLD): making it more democratic, more liberal, and more social (egalitarian). Continue reading “The Open Lifespan answer to Jonathan Floyd’s political philosophy organising question: how should we live? Tens of arguments”

Blind spot of academic political philosophy: not recognising health as a political incentive and healthy longevity as a political goal

This post is the continuation of The Open Lifespan answer to Jonathan Floyd’s political philosophy organising question: how should we live? Preparations post and takes up the story where the earlier one ended.

On the other hand, the reason I gave it a separate, focused title is that this is also a standalone, and I think quite relevant, piece in terms of the political philosophy Open Lifespan is aspiring for.

Introducing Health as a political incentive NB style, examples

As mentioned earlier, Floyd introduces 2 behaviourist measures to judge, justify success of existing (or past) political systems: plainly put, the more disincentives to political insurgence and crime a system enables the more successful it’s going to be.

‘minimising inequality, by way of a more social or egalitarian set of policies, minimises crime’

p169, Is political philosophy impossible? Jonathan Floyd

So less crime according to Floyd is the behavioural expression of the political preferences of people who do not commit crime due to the egalitarian policies implemented by the institutions of the political system they live in. Notice the negative, indirect aspect here, the inference is that if you do not commit crime it means you approve the system more.

My main suggestion is that ‘public and personal’ health considerations are as much a political incentive (or disincentive, see later) already today and due to increasing life expectancy are increasingly become so in the near future. Continue reading “Blind spot of academic political philosophy: not recognising health as a political incentive and healthy longevity as a political goal”

Mark Johnston’s Surviving Death scenario is like an Anthology Series, unlike Open Lifespan

Earlier I argued that indefinitely long healthy Open Life, ie. Open Lifespan needs an open narrative and that this narrative is already something most of us accustomed to due to TV series as a prevalent form of recreation. 

I have also used the Open Lifespan thought experiment to pinpoint a deficiency in Mark Johnston’s ethical argumentation using the personite concept. Reading Johnston’s Surviving Death last year was a highlight of my philosophy studies last year and my plan is to investigate his deep argumentation to dig out new positions for Open Lifespan. The positions I work out are going to be likely highly critical concerning Surviving Death. 

Today is my first light encounter with Surviving Death in the context of Open Lifespan and it will help us show an analogy to indicate what Open Lifespan is not.  Continue reading “Mark Johnston’s Surviving Death scenario is like an Anthology Series, unlike Open Lifespan”