A. Caplan

Leon Kass, the Chair of President Bush's bioethics council maintains that efforts to extend human life are inherently immoral. He is not alone in this opinion. Daniel Callahan, Francis Fukuyama and Gilbert Meilander among others maintain that the drive to extend the human life span is wrong.

While there are many who worry that life extension can bring in its wake untoward social and economic consequences that is not the concern of these thinkers. They seem to believe that efforts to extend life or to modify the physical changes associated with aging are inherently wrong--not due to consequences but because they place in jeoperdy are ability to enjoy life. The value of life and experience, according to Kass, derives from its finitude. Moreover it is simply vain and self-centered--unvirtuous--to seek to live longer and longer lives.

These arguments have gained much attention. But, they are deeply flawed. The presentation will review their claims, examine their cogency and offer a critique that defends the moral propriety of seeking to live longer and to reduce the burdens associated with aging.

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