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Considerable Life Extension versus Immortality

Author(s): Rosa Rantanen

Journal: Nordicum-Mediterraneum
ISSN 1670-6242

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: A5;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Immortality | life extension

The ethical desirability of considerable life extension by medical technology has become an increasingly discussed topic in bioethics during recent years. Immortality can be seen as a maximum of life extension. Because of this, many authors use the term 'immortality' for referring to a lifespan that is considerably longer than our current one. However, being literally immortal would be very different from living for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. The arguments that have been made about the metaphysical questions about immortality need to be clearly distinguished from the bioethical discussion on life extension. What is true of immortality is not necessarily true of a considerably extended human life. In this paper it is argued that immortality in its literal sense should be separated from the discussion on the ethical desirability of considerable life extension more explicitly than is done at the moment. Referring to immortality not only causes conceptual confusion but sometimes affects the argumentation as well.
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