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Life extension and deceleration of human aging

Individual estimate, social impact, ethical analysis and normative judgement

  • Abstract:
    Due to our extended knowledge in the field of biosciences, in particular against the backdrop of new findings from studies on animals in biogerontology, the option of substantially prolonging the human life-span and slowing down the aging- and senescence processes is increasingly coming into the scope of a real goal option.
    Extensive research efforts in this field are opposed by a lack of societal reflection on the desirability of this goal.

    The project that is being introduced here aims at representatively determining the different opinions of the German population and at inserting these results into an ethical analysis. To this end, the ethical arguments are to be systematized and their scientific-medical as well as their sociological-empirical premises are to be reviewed.
    Within the scope of cultural challenges, which are related to an aging society, an important normative question is formed by the question whether aging itself, and not only health issues related to aging, can be seen as requiring treatment. This question is of current significance because of the business activity of medical and non-medical anti-aging-strategies.
    Both an early societal reflection and an ethical analysis are necessary preconditions for the discussion of future biogerontological research goals.

  • Supervision: 
    Dr. phil. Michael Fuchs
    Institute of Science and Ethics, Bonn

    Prof. Dr. phil. Georg Rudinger
    Center for aging cultures, Bonn


  • Sponsorship: 
    Center for the Sciences NRW - Institute for Cultural Studies, Essen


  • Period of sponsorship: 
    July 2005 - December 2006


  • Contact person: 
    Dr. theol. Dipl. psych. Ulrich Feeser-Lichterfeld
    Institute of Science and Ethics, Bonn


  • Publications:
    Ulrich Feeser-Lichterfeld: Intergenerational Justice in an Extreme Longevity Scenario: Ethical Issues in Biogerontological Endeavours, J. Tremmel (Ed.), Demographic Change and Intergenerational Justice. The Implementation of Long-Term Thinking in the Political Decision Making Process, Berlin 2008, 127–134.

    Ulrich Feeser-Lichterfeld: Wollen wir ewig leben? Die Provokation des Anti-Aging-Booms und der biogerontologischen Forschung, in: Herder Korrespondenz 61 (2007), H. 5, S. 238-243.

    Michael Fuchs: Biomedizin als Jungbrunnen? Zur ethischen Debatte über künftige Optionen der Verlangsamung des Alterns, in: Zeitschrift für medizinische Ethik 52 (2006) S. 355-366.

    Ulrich Feeser-Lichterfeld, Michael Fuchs, Franciska Illes, Uwe Kleinmas, Britta Krahn, Kerstin Prell, Christian Rietz, Marcella Rietschel, Georg Rudinger, Thomas Runkel, Edgar Schmitz: Lebensverlängerung und Verlangsamung des menschlichen Alterns. Erträge eines interdisziplinären Forschungsprojekts, in: Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik, Bd. 12 (2007), 219-254.
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