Towards Naturalistic Transcendence: The Value of Life and Life Extension to Persons as Conative Processes

  • Steven Horrobin


Much has been said concerning the ethics of life extension, with primary foci being various forms distributive justice with respect to interpersonal cases, and questions of identity, utility, and instrumental value in the personal case. Comparatively little, however, has yet been said of the nature of the value of life’s continuance, simpliciter. What has been said has taken the form of bioconservative reference to canonical concepts of the value of life, wherein the likes of the religious concept of the “sanctity” of life serves paradoxically to set limits upon the value of life’s continuance, without giving any internal account of that value whatever. Where more bio-liberal commentators have referenced this idea, it has largely been to deny that the concept refers to anything in existence, which is taken to be that which is within the frame of the natural universe. This paper aims to set out the groundwork for a naturalistic account of the value of life’s continuance to persons as a constitutive and therefore inalienable value. Beyond this, it is suggested that this value is isomorphic and indeed identical with the principle in physics that sets biological organisms apart from other physical systems, and which is also the originator and orientor of all biophysical, and indeed moral, values at all.


Life Extension Physical Dynamic Naturalistic Frame Darwinian Principle Fundamental Driver 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of MedicineUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghScotland

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