Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.

Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:

Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view

whats new at ieet

Orban @ State of the Net 2015

The Simulated Future

IEET Audience Divided on Minimum Wage and Technological Unemployment

Visibility of IEET Jumps This Week

Virtual Reality and Reality Augmentation

A Techno-Optimist Movement: For an Evenly Distributed Future

ieet books

Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence
Calum Chace


CygnusX1 on 'The Simulated Future' (Oct 4, 2015)

Roy Alexander on 'Could Artificial Morals and Emotions Make Robots Safer?' (Oct 4, 2015)

etienne thillaye on 'Egalitarianism is not Radical' (Oct 3, 2015)

Rick Searle on 'How Nature Plays the Lottery' (Oct 3, 2015)

instamatic on 'Envy of the Future' (Oct 2, 2015)

AlonzoTG on 'Technology and Human Dignity' (Oct 2, 2015)

Giulio Prisco on 'The Marxist and Christian Roots of Transhumanism' (Oct 2, 2015)

Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List


Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month

Seven Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World Forever
Sep 29, 2015
(106341) Hits
(4) Comments

The price of the Internet of Things will be a vague dread of a malicious world
Sep 25, 2015
(24344) Hits
(3) Comments

This Artificially Intelligent Boss Means the Workplace Will Never Be the Same
Sep 18, 2015
(16436) Hits
(1) Comments

Religion and Superintelligence
Sep 12, 2015
(8367) Hits
(0) Comments

IEET > Life > Fellows > Aubrey de Grey

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (4974) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg

Life extension, human rights, and the rational refinement of repugnance

Aubrey de Grey
By Aubrey de Grey
Journal of Medical Ethics 2005;31:659-663

Posted: Nov 18, 2005

On the ethics of extending human life: healthy people have a right to carry on living.

Humanity has long demonstrated a paradoxical ambivalence concerning the extension of a healthy human lifespan. Modest health extension has been universally sought, whereas extreme (even indefinite) health extension has been regarded as a snare and delusion—a dream beyond all others at first blush, but actually something we are better off without. The prevailing pace of biotechnological progress is bringing ever closer the day when humanity will be able to act on the latter view by rejecting a clear and present opportunity for much longer healthy lives. Indeed, some biogerontologists (including myself) contend that that day has already arrived, to the extent that our hesitation in embarking on a vigorous “war on ageing” is already delaying the point at which a cure for ageing will be developed. Here I consider whether our present caution concerning the wisdom of truly curing ageing is likely to survive the increased scrutiny that it will receive in coming years as a result of these technical advances. I conclude that it will not, because of its irreconcilability with values that are more deeply held by the large majority of humanity than any values that argue against the quest for a cure. I further conclude that all the major current reasons given for not curing ageing are mere crutches to help us cope with the immutability of ageing that we have been brought up to accept. Our failure to set aside such irrationality (as it has become with recent advances in biomedical gerontology, even if it was justifiable on psychological grounds hitherto) is already shortening potential longevity—quite probably of those already alive today—to a staggering degree. Once we realise this, our determination to consign human ageing to history will be second only to our shame that we took so long to break out of our collective trance.

To read the rest of this article please visit

Aubrey de Grey Ph.D. is a biomedical gerontologist, a Fellow of the IEET, the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Foundation and editor of Rejuvenation Research.
Print Email permalink (0) Comments (4975) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Genetically modified athletes

Previous entry: Intelligent Design Made Mankind?


RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @     phone: 860-297-2376

West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Email: hank @