A cure for aging?

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 11 (3):237-255 (1986)
Arthur Caplan has argued that the presumptive naturalness, universality, and inevitability of aging are no obstacles to conceptualizing aging as a disease since those traits are themselves merely contingent. Moreover, aging lends itself to discussion in terms of diagnostic symptomatology and etiology. Is aging therefore a disease? I argue that aging need not be shown to be unnatural or a disease in order to make it the subject of biomedical interest. I suggest that rather than ask "Is aging a disease?", the better point of philosophical departure would be to ask "Is aging objectionable such that its prevention and cure ought to be sought?". In this way, the moral issues at stake emerge more clearly. Chief among these issues are the potential results of curing aging and the implications for the prospect of meaningful human life without the de facto limitations that aging (and perhaps death) put upon it. A convincing argument that aging should be cured, therefore, would need to show that human significance warrants and possibly seeks such a cure and that the social costs of curing aging are morally acceptable. Keywords: aging, disease, cure, immortality CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/11.3.237
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