Maximum and/or radical life extension?

A crucial terminological and conceptual point, which came into my mind, when I read this old Fight Aging! post:

When experts, even the most comitted proponents are talking about radical life extension, they usually mention only a few hundreds or thousands years, and then put the enigmatic "more" tag at the end, but they are not very clear what this "more" could mean. In contrast, partial immortalization refers to maximum life extension, which equals to unlimited lifespan, because theoretically if all tissues and organs of an adult body were regenerated once, then it could be regenerated two and eventually n times. So pimm falls under the category of radical life extension, and forms the upper limit of that.

Why this "unlimitedness" will be so important throughout our journey?

If you would like to take into consideration all the expected an unexpected effets of a present or future technology to society in general, you have to figure out the putative and possible endpoint of that technology, and form your conception from that endpoint of view. In the case of life extension this is the possibility of unlimited lifespan, to eliminate the internal causes of death, which is partial immortalization, not just some thousand years and on the other side, not whole immortalization, i.e. to eliminate the external causes of death, and not complete rejuvenation.

The meaning of this unlimitedness in the pimm construct is philosophical and somewhat ethical. If I would like to think about life extension in a philosophical way, then I have to construct the broadest conceptual frame which is conceivable, and that is pimm.

On the other hand this unlimitedness bears some ethical burden: I, as a stem cell researcher and a philosopher have to be honest about what this technological endpoint of any life extension could be. And that is not some thousand years.

Next: The parameters of a partially immortalized individual

Originally posted at May 5th, 2006,


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