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.
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.
#1 Dynamic political anthropology: Open Self, Free Variables
In How Open Lifespan changes the political value of time; reading Elizabeth F. Cohen I cited Cohen as saying on p160 of The Political Value of Time
Democracy is predicated on a belief in a non-static conception of human character.
and on p162:
Permanence and finality run contra to the temporal premises upon which democracy is predicated.
I feel that in these thoughts Cohen actually describes the ‘essence’ of Open Lifespan, emphasis being on open, transformative, dynamic, changing. An Open Life following an Open Narrative is not unlike a TV series. Here political anthropology and philosophical psychology actually converges. The necessary downside of this Openness principle is the uncertainty that comes with this state but accepting and internalising this uncertainty makes the best use of human individuals as Free Variables living an Open Life.
#2 Enabling slow democracy
This is also a result from How Open Lifespan changes the political value of time; reading Elizabeth F. Cohen.
Open Lifespan provides better guarantees for simple and more complex, ‘slow’ democracy than Closed Lifespan, which is less democratic in comparison.
This is a simple argument as I think almost all political theorists would agree that given enough or ample time for commensuration to resolve normative disagreements over values and goods and principles and/or having ample time for reaching consent, Open Lifespan takes the teeth out of anti-democratic temporal pressures by overcoming temporal scarcity.
A methodological consequence of this insight that democratic thinkers should eye Open Lifespan as the limiting ideal case scenario when considering the best instances of implementing democratic norms under Closed Lifespan.
With this point we have actually come to a full circle back to point 1: Open Lifespan enables, slow, complex and ever more complete democracy. Democracy is based upon non-static, ever changing human character. Open Lifespan is the best, most realistic and perhaps only possible shot to achieve Protean characters and Protean democracy.
#3 Open Life is a limiting possible world, not an utopia
Open life is trajectory thinking. It’s not ideal and it’s not real, it’s a limiting case, a limit concept. No idealising assumptions about human nature are made, no fundamental, jump change but gradual changes not in terms of the fundamentals of biological human life but fundamentals of the amount of life lived. It is a counterfactual scenario.
Open Healthspan is already happening and lifespan (just like life expectancy) can only be opened up gradually as nobody start at year 200 but need to push through the years one at a time. So there’s only one way to introduce these technologies underlying Open Lifespan and that includes a gradual, lengthy process. It is about changing two fundamental parameters of human life, it’s health and it’s length. On the contrary, discontinuity and radical change are strong parts of most utopias known.
Utopias are also tend to be monists in terms of values and enforcing one particular good concept and way of life. Open Lifespan is not about one right or good way of life but instead it’s about enabling all possible ways of human lives. Please see next point concerning value-pluralism.
Strange as it sounds but Open Lifespan is about conserving life if viewed from an unbiased angle. It is about conserving, maintaining human life using what we are familiar with as human life as its starting point. Open Lifespan is life conservatism at its most revolutionary.
Also please see Live Philosophy Extracts: David Enoch’s Against Utopianism
COMMENT #2: Open Lifespan is compatible with current living as Closed Lifespan is the lower bound of Open Lifespan, it’s on the same ongoing continuous scale of human living. On the other hand Open Lifespan’s feasibility does not depend on inner resistance of people not wanting to do it, but on feasibility of a technological development. But this does not mean that Open Life is a technologically determinist view.
#4 Temporal value-pluralism and neutrality towards different good life concepts
Please see previous post Open Life’s temporal value-pluralism enables neutrality towards different concepts of good life.
#5 How can longevity enter the political world: longevity world community
Please see earlier post: The concept and reality of a Longevity World Community, reading Jens Bartelson.
#6 Open Lifespan as a centrist possible world
We take Open Lifespan to be the central and also limiting possible world within the morally relevant networks of connected possible worlds.
Politically speaking this can also be considered as taking a centrist position. 🙂
Please see an earlier and rather naive attempt here: Open Future: Open Life(span) as a foundation to reinvent liberalism.
#7 Open Healthspan interventions do qualify as prevention/treatment and are not enhancements
In terms of global policy we will argue for the prevention/treatment view of Open Healthspan technologies, please see Can you imagine a world without disease but with biological aging? Neither can I for a starter.