Superpower enhancements are pro-inequality, Open Lifespan is pro-equal-opportunity

Here am continuing my investigations to widen the gap between enhancements and healthy longevity efforts, Open Lifespan being the possible upper limit of those efforts.

In The superpower enhancement test: Open Lifespan is not for boasting the case was made that Open Lifespan as a capacity cannot be used for demonstrative and performative purposes, as opposed to poster child superpowers like memory enhancements, and hence it cannot be used to single out individuals in a competitive situation.

Today we will look at another aspect of this comparison/conceptual difference using a very similar pub chat setup as last time. But this time we are invoking the heavyweight concepts of political philosophy: equality/inequality.

Continue reading “Superpower enhancements are pro-inequality, Open Lifespan is pro-equal-opportunity”

Daily Effort: Open Lifespan, a political aim with impersonal and personal standpoints in sync; applying Thomas Nagel

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.

In Chapter 4 of his Equality and Partiality, called The Problem of Utopianism Nagel concludes that

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.

p30, Equality and Partiality, Thomas Nagel

Let’s apply this method and principle to Open Lifespan. Continue reading “Daily Effort: Open Lifespan, a political aim with impersonal and personal standpoints in sync; applying Thomas Nagel”

Martha Nussbaum’s problematic first capability: what is ‘the end of a human life of normal length’? Part 1

The Capability Approach is one of the strongest theoretical contender out there within the broadly defined liberal political and moral philosophy tradition trying to re-state the problems of social justice but also joining it with considerations of individual human well-beings or qualities of life. The main philosopher protagonist of the approach is Martha Nussbaum, and the main economist is Amaryta Sen, who used capabilities to work out an interdisciplinary ‘human developmental approach’ which is in a position to advice institutions on global policy.

I find the central idea behind the capability theory flexible and plausible. It is using a modal concept (capabilities) – borrowing Nussbaum’s wording – to ‘construct a normative conception of social justice’ and it shows that this concept as a primitive can potentially serve to provide an account on human rights as well.  

I recommend two accessible texts from Nussbaum that deals with the capabilities approach: Capabilities as fundamental entitlements: Sen and social justice

and Human Capabilities, Female Human Beings, First published in Women, Culture and Development: A Study of Human Capabilities, ed. Martha C. Nussbaum and Jonathan (3/over (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 61—104.

Martha Nussbaum formulated a top 10 specific list for the central capabilities. I found most of them well formulated, except the first one which is

Life. Being able to live to the end of a human life of normal length; not dying prematurely, or before one’s life is so reduced as to be not worth living.

Martha Nussbaum in Capabilities as fundamental entitlements: Sen and social justice

From now on I will be solely focusing on the expression ‘Being able to live to the end of a human life of normal length’ Continue reading “Martha Nussbaum’s problematic first capability: what is ‘the end of a human life of normal length’? Part 1”

Open Life as the central possible world and default anthropology in political philosophy

The main proposition of this study is to suggest that Open Lifespan/Open Life should be the central possible world and the default underlying anthropology behind moral and political philosophy. I think morality should be redefined by making the case for moral persons with open-ended lifespans. This Open Lifespan sub-study is being published in several subsequent posts, here are the ones already published.

Open Lifespan within the possible world framework 

Open Life as the central possible world and default anthropology in moral philosophy 

Open Life’s temporal value-pluralism enables neutrality towards different concepts of good life 

Let’s see some high-level details concerning political philosophy, some of them already investigated and summarised here, some of them to be investigated further. Continue reading “Open Life as the central possible world and default anthropology in political philosophy”

Open Life’s temporal value-pluralism enables neutrality towards different concepts of good life

This is my first, separate and somewhat rudimentary take on investigating a crucial moral and political problem in the context of Open Lifespan: value-pluralism and the different concepts of a good life. Hence, the concepts used and the argument developed are in their initial form and it may well be that the second, third … formulation will lead to different concepts and modify the argument. Continue reading “Open Life’s temporal value-pluralism enables neutrality towards different concepts of good life”

Live Philosophy Extracts: David Enoch’s Against Utopianism

Experimenting with a new format in this book blog: notes on philosophy texts I study. I’m reading almost all philosophy with a focus on Open Lifespan in the back of my mind and most of these materials will find their way into the study and book. Explaining the title: ‘Live’ means that am continuously updating these posts as am working through the material, so the date of the post won’t do justice with how it is actually made, never mind. ‘Live’ also means that most of the materials are coming from living philosophers, thereby enabling a chance encounter with them, facilitating communication and feedback that stays alive. ‘Extract’ means notes, making a solution containing the active, concentrated principles of the matter. The structure of a post: default text is my extracts or phrasings of what I read, sometimes direct quotes denoted with single quotes. ‘COMMENT’ means immediate question or actual comment when I read the text.

To be extracted: David Enoch: Against Utopianism: Noncompliance and Multiple Agents, Philosopher’s Imprint, 2018, VOLUME 18, NO. 16, PP. 1-20  Continue reading “Live Philosophy Extracts: David Enoch’s Against Utopianism”

How Open Lifespan changes the political value of time; reading Elizabeth F. Cohen

When I started to study philosophy at the ELTE University in Budapest my first social/intellectual action was to compile a list of classical, modern and contemporary writings about the philosophy of time and then look for other undergrads being interested to seminarise these works. Think about Aristotle’s Physics IV. 10-14, St. Augustine’s Book XI of the Confessions and … the wonderful essay collection on The Philosophy of Time edited by Poidevin/McBeath. Eventually I think it was too nerdy an offering even amongst philosophy students but I stuck with studying these writings a lot. To me  studying the philosophy of time was a huge part of my personal motivation as after studying aging in the years before as a biology student I realised I have a problem understanding what is this ‘time thing’ with respect to biological aging is defined, what are we measuring here …

Philosophy of time and analysis of temporality by conceptual means is a great field and Elisabeth F. CohenAssociate Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University, managed to open a new chapter within this field by writing The Political Value of Time, that was published this very year by Cambridge University Press and I was lucky enough to see it amongst the new offerins at the CUP Bookshop.

I studied this book repeatedly this year, here’s a photo on my annotated copy.

Cohen’s analytical starting point is the tendency to ignore durational time in politics by the social sciences. Hence, most of the study is focusing on the temporal aspects of establishing sovereignty, mostly assumed hidden behind spatial boundaries and then how temporalities like schedules, waiting periods, deadlines are constitutive in the procedures of modern democracies. The main, deliberate subset of examples (‘temporal formulae’) are the age of maturity delimiting children from full citizenship, the probationary period needed for the naturalisation of non-citizens and prison sentences. Continue reading “How Open Lifespan changes the political value of time; reading Elizabeth F. Cohen”

Open Lifespan and knowing our age in Rawls’s Original Position

Another quick post, from the beach of Lake Balaton, stealing some precious family vacation time, also our train leaves soon for Budapest [1]. On the other hand I’ve been thinking on this topic for a while now. In our last post entitled Open lifespan as a coherent life plan enables super-agency we already mentioned one important concept of John Rawls, the concept of rational life plan. Today we go much deeper into Rawls, behind the life plan concept, at the heart of his foundational justice theory.
Our foreground argumentation deals with the Rawlsian ‘veil of ignorance’ in the ‘original position’: a thought experiment leading to a just society.
Our background deeper question: How would knowing our chronological age impact our impartiality, self-interest and our self-assessment?

Continue reading “Open Lifespan and knowing our age in Rawls’s Original Position”