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The choosy reaper : from the myth of eternal youth to the reality of unequal death

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Published in EMBO Reports. 2005, vol. 6, p. S67-S71
Abstract Our increased understanding of the biology of ageing has revived prospects for radical anti‐ageing medicine. Ethicists have often tried to argue against these endeavours, but with little success. Their arguments, which appeal to the natural order, are either circular or self‐defeating. Invoking the invariance of the human condition cuts no ice as rational argument and often turns into an avowedly irrational appeal to the ‘yuk reaction’ that exotic technologies evoke. Does that mean that anti‐mortality technologies are ethically innocuous? Not if we consider the reality of unequal death in today's world, in which differences in longevity highlight the gap between the haves and the have‐nots. Even in affluent societies, in which the basics of food, shelter and medicine are widely available, the grim reaper is very much class conscious. Without returning to the concern for equality that was once the hallmark of the Enlightenment, radical life extension may well add to these existing inequalities, and create more resentment and strife in the future.
Keywords AgingDrug effectsEthicsDeathHumansLongevity
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PMID: 15995667
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Other version: http://embor.embopress.org/content/6/S1/S67.long
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Research group Ethique biomédicale (783)
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MAURON, Alex. The choosy reaper : from the myth of eternal youth to the reality of unequal death. In: EMBO Reports, 2005, vol. 6, p. S67-S71. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:85329

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Deposited on : 2016-07-19

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