Genome Editing for Longer Lives: The Problem of Loneliness

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (2):309-314 (2020)
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The development of gene-editing technologies, such as the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and associated Cas9 endonuclease system, coincides with a rapidly expanding knowledge of the role of genes in the human ageing process. This raises the prospect that, in addition to the treatment of genetic diseases and disorders, it may become possible to use gene-editing technologies to alter the ageing process and significantly extend the maximum human lifespan. Germline editing poses distinctive problems due to its implications for individual members of future, unborn generations. In this essay, I wish to home in, narrowly, on a single ethical objection to extending the lifespan of future generations by editing the human germline. The objection suggests that to extend lifespans is to unethically inflict the harm of loneliness on future people. I claim that the argument rests on assumptions that ought to be rejected.



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Christopher Wareham
Utrecht University

Citations of this work

Between hoping to die and longing to live longer.Christopher S. Wareham - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (2):1-20.
Life Goes On.Michael A. Ashby - 2020 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (2):157-160.

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References found in this work

Problems of the Self.Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press.
Problems of the Self.Bernard Williams - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 37 (3):551-551.

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