INDEFINITE LIFE EXTENSION: IS IT A GOOD IDEA?
Professor Anton van Niekerk, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Applied Ethics, Stellenbosch University
Monday 15 January 3.00 pm COURSE FEES R110; Staff and students R55
The idea that (human) life can, and ought, in principle be extended indefinitely, is gaining ground in our culture. Prominent researchers in this field claim that the desirability and reality of indefinite life extension is prone to become the central scientific, technological and cultural project of the current century. It is argued in these circles that, while it is impossible to avoid aging (i.e. living for a very long time), it is possible to avoid growing old (i.e., to increasingly suffer from ailments and disease(s) closely associated with our current experience of aging). This lecture will analyse what the actual causes of death are, as well as whether aging is best looked upon as a ‘mere’ (and reversible) disease. Having analysed the key arguments, the author points out significant problems with this train of thought. What we ought to pursue, is not necessarily a longer life, but a happier life.