The Fountain of Youth: Cultural, Scientific, and Ethical Perspectives on a Biomedical Goal

The Fountain of Youth: Cultural, Scientific, and Ethical Perspectives on a Biomedical Goal

by Stephen G. Post
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195170083

ISBN-13: 9780195170085

Pub. Date: 04/28/2004

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

A wide variety of ambitions and measures to slow, stop, and reverse phenomena associated with aging have been part of human culture since early civilization. From alchemy to cell injections to dietary supplements, the list of techniques aimed at altering the processes of aging continues to expand. Charlatans, quacks, and entrpreneurs proffering anti-aging products

Overview

A wide variety of ambitions and measures to slow, stop, and reverse phenomena associated with aging have been part of human culture since early civilization. From alchemy to cell injections to dietary supplements, the list of techniques aimed at altering the processes of aging continues to expand. Charlatans, quacks, and entrpreneurs proffering anti-aging products and practices have always exploited uniformed customers and instilled doubt and apprehension toward practices intended to extend life. Recently, however, the pursuit of longevity has developed into a respectable scientific activity. Many biologists are substantially funded by the government and the private sector to conduct research that they believe will lead to effective anti-aging interventions.

While many embrace this quest for "prolongevity"—extended youth and long life—others fear its consequences. If effective anti-aging interventions were achieved, they would likely bring about profound alterations in the experiences of individual and collective life. What if aging could be decelerated to the extent that both average life expectancy and maximum life span would increase by forty percent? What if all humans could live to be centenarians, free of the chronic diseases and disabilities now commonly associated with old age? What if modern scientists could find the modern equivalent to the Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon sought?

This book addresses these questions by exploring the ramifications of possible anti-aging interventions on both individual and collective life. Through a series of essays, it examines the biomedical goal of prolongevity from cultural, scientific, religious, and ethical perspectives, offering a sweeping view into the future of aging.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195170085
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/28/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.30(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
I. THE PERENNIAL QUESTS FOR EXTENDED AND ETERNAL LIFE
One: The Search for Prolongevity: A Contentious Pursuit, Robert H. Binstock
Two: The Quest for Immortality: Visions and Presentiments in Science and Literature, Mark B. Adams
Three: Decelerated Aging: Should I Drink From a Fountain of Youth?, Stephen G. Post
Four: A Jewish Theology of Death and the Afterlife, Neil Gillman
Five: In Defense of Immortality, Carol G. Zaleski
II. THE SCIENCE OF PROLONGEVITY
Six: In Search of the Holy Grail of Senescence, S. Jay Olshansky and Bruce A. Carnes
Seven: The Metabiology of Life Extension, Michael Rose
Eight: Extending Human Longevity: A Biological Probability, Robert Arking
Nine: Eat Less, Eat Better, and Live Longer: Does it Work and Is It Worth It? The Role of Diet in Aging, Gemma Casadesus, George Perry, James A. Joseph, and Mark A. Smith
Ten: Extending Life: Scientific Prospects and Political Obstacles, Richard A. Miller
Eleven: An Engineer's Approach To Developing Real Anti-Aging Medicine, Aubrey D.N.J. de Grey
III. ETHICAL AND SOCIAL PERSPECTIVES ON RADICAL LIFE EXTENSION
Twelve: An Unnatural Process: Why It Is Not Inherently Wrong to Seek a Cure For Aging, Arthur L. Caplan
Thirteen: Longevity, Identity, and Moral Character: A Feminist Approach, Christne Overall
Fourteen: L'Chaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?, Leon R. Kass
Fifteen: Anti-Aging Research and the Limits of Medicine, Eric T. Juengst
Sixteen: The Social and Justice Implications of Extending the Human Life Span, Audrey R. Chapman
Seventeen: The "Prolonged Old," the "Long-Lived Society," and the Politics of Age, Robert H. Binstock
Epilogue: Extended Life, Eternal Life: A Christian Perspective, Diogenes Allen
Annotated Bibliography, Roselle S. Ponsaran
Primary Literary Sources on Prolongevity, Carol A. Donley
Index

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