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Aging, Death, and Human Longevity: A Philosophical Inquiry Paperback – July 19, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (July 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520244877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520244870
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,628,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This terrific book should be read by anybody who wants to think clearly about aging, death, or longevity. It takes on the widespread opposition to systematic social attention to prolonging healthy life, laying bare some of its unsavory underpinnings (ageism, sexism, etc.) It also encourages us to think creatively about what longer life could offer us and humanity as a whole."

From the Inside Flap

"Is a longer life a good in itself? Christine Overall carefully explores the philosophical tradition and current arguments to conclude that living a longer life is better. For those who believe that philosophy should concern real issues of everyday life that genuinely matter to our ability to live well, this book is essential."—Joan Tronto, author of Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care

"This terrific book should be read by anybody who wants to think clearly about aging, death, or longevity. It takes on the widespread opposition to systematic social attention to prolonging healthy life, laying bare some of its unsavory underpinnings (ageism, sexism, etc.). It also encourages us to think creatively about what longer life could offer us and humanity as a whole."—Laura Purdy, author of Reproducing Persons

"Christine Overall provides a precise, no-nonsense approach to questions of aging and death. Her analyses sparkle with clarity as she dismantles the arguments for a 'duty to die'; and her moral commitments give rise to workable, urgent social policies. Death is accepted as the termination of life; but not as its focus or meaning: in the end, this is a book that does not fetishize death; it celebrates life!"—Grace M. Jantzen, author of Becoming Divine: Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Religion

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Dr. Christine Overall, a noted Canadian feminist philosopher, has written a compelling philosophical inquiry into aging, death and human longevity. At the end of her book by the same title, she concludes that other things being equal, a long human life is a better life and that social policies which promote the equal extension of human life to all populations are amply justified. Dr. Overall weaves in both personal experiences and professional talent to answer her aging grandmother's query of why she (her grandmother) should struggle so hard to stay alive.

Dr. Overall adroitly addresses the arguments for apologism (accepting human mortality and not prolonging it) and prolongevitism (taking reasonable steps to prolong human lives). It is the clear, commonsensical, and humane blend of the personal and the professional, however, that distinguishes her philosophical attempt to endorse a natural life course approach to address her ontological judgment that human beings in general do not deserve to die. Along with her book titled "Why Have Children?, in which she addresses the arguments for having children and implicitly why humans deserve to exist, she is a rare contemporary philosopher who continues to carry on the classical Western tradition of philosophy of applying practical wisdom to fundamental life and death decisions we all face. Whether you agree or disagree with her, she deserves a careful reading.
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