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Extending Human Lifespans

By Larry Temkin, Christian Barry, Matt Peterson | Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Public Ethics Media | December 5, 2008

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What would a world in which everyone lived beyond 100 be like? Would it really be worth it for us? In this episode of Public Ethics Radio, philosopher Larry Temkin argues that we need to take a good hard look at all sides of the question of aging, rather than just blindly hoping for the best.

If a scientist discovers a genetic switch that turns off cellular aging tomorrow, what effect will this have on population growth, environmental sustainability, and social safety nets? Will the world be forced to enact and enforce birth restrictions? Should there be universal access to longevity drugs? Are older populations more conservative because they're less likely to bear the long-term consequences of their political decisions?

Public Ethics Radio is a production of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) in Canberra, Australia—the world's largest concentration of applied philosophers—in association with the Carnegie Council.

Public Ethics Radio is hosted by Christian Barry and produced by Matt Peterson. Find out more by visiting or writing to

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