The ethics of human life extension: The second argument from evolution

Chris Gyngell*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    One argument that is sometimes made against pursuing radical forms of human life extension is that such interventions will make the species less evolvable, which would be morally undesirable. In this article, I discuss the empirical and evaluative claims of this argument. I argue that radical increases in life expectancy could, in principle, reduce the evolutionary potential of human populations through both biological and cultural mechanisms. I further argue that if life extension did reduce the evolvability of the species, this will be undesirable for three reasons: (1) it may increase the species susceptibility to extinction risks, (2) it may adversely affect institutions and practices that promote well-being, and (3) it may impede moral progress.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)696-713
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


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