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Life extension, overpopulation and the right to life: against lethal ethics

Abstract

Some of the objections to life-extension stem from a concern with overpopulation. I will show that whether or not the overpopulation threat is realistic, arguments from overpopulation cannot ethically demand halting the quest for, nor access to, life-extension. The reason for this is that we have a right to life, which entitles us not to have meaningful life denied to us against our will and which does not allow discrimination solely on the grounds of age. If the threat of overpopulation creates a rights conflict between the right to come into existence, the right to reproduce, the right to more opportunities and space (if, indeed, these rights can be successfully defended), and the right to life, the latter ought to be given precedence.

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