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”
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.
This is the 5th 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 can be read here.
Current political climate is crazy. What’s alternative and what’s not in terms of the near future concerning the country I live in is as clear as a warthog in a mud bath. As a result am getting radicalised (better term would be practicalised) on the inside to do something for actual longevity politics. Here’s the idea in 2 tweets.
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?
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’
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.
With the current study, I’m going to put Floyd’s study to a much better and more detailed use. My final aim is to demonstrate through a series of arguments that Open Lifespan as a political philosophy picks out and relies on 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?
Interesting thing happened with ecological thought and green political philosophy in the last couple of years: it became mainstream. It might have something to do with all the strange earthly things lots of humans experienced in these years from heat waves to droughts, from floods to smogs.
Earlier I posted several posts and mini-studies to connect ecological thought to the main study of this book blog, the philosophical investigation of longevity.
Today I’d like to debut the term ecolongevity to refer to these connections between Open Lifespan philosophy and Ecological Thought and to summarise some of them. The scope of connections is stretching from the theoretical, conceptual, aesthetical level to practical and political philosophy. Since it is summary, the pointers are brief, some of them not detailed so far will be elaborated later. Continue reading “Ecolongevity: connecting Open Lifespan with Ecological Thought”
Ecological thinking and politics had a long way to go, but longevity thinking and politics has an even longer way to go. The good news is that ecological thinking and action provides a template for longevity thinking and action.
Many of us heard about the Green New Deal proposal by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ed Markey & co., dated back this past February, less than a month ago. I doubt that most of those who heard about it, actually read the foundational document. I read it and you can read it here. Technically (legally), it is a resolution.
This Green New Deal document is a trigger and inspiration for me to start working on a foundational document on World Longevity I call the Grey New Deal.
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.