Presentation on theme: "Ethical Issues on Aging and Longevity Soraj Hongladarom Center for Ethics of Science and Technology, Chulalongkorn University."— Presentation transcript:
Ethical Issues on Aging and Longevity Soraj Hongladarom Center for Ethics of Science and Technology, Chulalongkorn University
Overview Advances in medical technology. Human lifespan poised to extend dramatically. What are the ethical issues? Is it always desirable to extend lifespan further and further?
Advances in Medical Technology The mechanism of aging is now more understood. This results in attempts to prolong and extend ‘healthy lifespan.’ Main motivation of modern medicine: avoid death at all cost.
Possible Future Scenario Humans living more than one hundred years will become more common. In order to maintain population balance, fewer children will have to be born. What will happen to the family structure? Many laws and regulations have to be rewritten - insurance policies, retirement age, pension, etc.
Extended Lifespan and Meaning of Life This increase in lifespan prompts a question on the meaning of life itself, as well as that of death. The basic thinking behind this attempt is that death is to be avoided at all cost. Perhaps one should pause and reflect on what exactly is desired when one wishes to extend one’s lifespan.
The Buddhist Viewpoint Buddhism prompts one to question the meaning and value of life. It differs from the Judeo- Christian tradition in that it does not consider life to be sacred in itself. On the contrary, Buddhism regards life to be only valuable when it is meaningful. To be meaningful means that life has to contribute to the main goal, which is liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths.
Peter Singer Re-evaluation of traditional Western ethics Rethinking Life and Death Affinities and differences with the Buddhist thought.