By Kurt Baier (auth.), Nancy S. Jecker (eds.)
The getting older Self and the getting older Society moral concerns concerning the aged have lately come to the fore. this could come as no shock: because the flip of the century, there was an eightfold in crease within the variety of americans over the age of sixty 5, and virtually a tripling in their percentage to the overall inhabitants. these over the age of eighty-five- the quickest growing to be crew within the country-are twenty another occasions as a variety of as in 1900. Demographers count on this pattern to speed up into the twenty-first century. The getting older of society casts into shiny aid a num ber of deep and troubling questions. at the one hand, as members, we grapple with the fast adventure of getting older and mortality and search to discover in it philosophical or moral value. We additionally ask yourself what responsi bilities we undergo towards getting older relations and what expectancies of others our plans for previous age can reasona bly comprise. nevertheless, as a neighborhood, we needs to make a decision: What particular function, if any, do older people occupy in our society? What constitutes a simply distribution of clinical assets among generations? And, How can associations that serve the previous foster imperiled values, equivalent to autonomy, self-respect, and dignity? only in the near past have we all started to discover those subject matters, but already a wealthy and fruitful literature has grown up round them.
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Additional info for Aging And Ethics: Philosophical Problems in Gerontology
6See Leibniz (1934) Monadology, in The Philosophical Writings 0/ Leibniz (M. ), Everyman's Library No. 905, E. P. Duton, New York, NY, pp. 8-10, para. 32-38. 'ITo borrow the useful term coined by Professor D. A. T. Gasking of Melbourne University. , J. J. C. Smart (1957) The existence of God, reprinted in New Essays in Philosophical Theology (A. Flew and A. CM. Press, London,lTIK,pp. 35-39. 9'Jbat creation out of nothing is not a clarificatory notion becomes obvious when we learn that "in the philosophical sense" it does not imply creation at a particular time.
The Christian and the scientific world pictures do indeed differ fundamentally on this point. The latter robs humans of a purpose in this sense. It sees them as beings with no purpose allotted to them by anyone but themselves. It robs them of any goal, purpose, or destiny appointed for them by any outside agency. The Christian world picture, on the other hand, sees humans as creatures, divine artifacts, something halfway between robots (manufactured) and animals (alive), homunculi, or perhaps Frankenstein's monsters, made in God's laboratory, with a purpose or task assigned by their Maker.
When our solar system grows old, the sun will cool, our planet will be covered with ice, and all living creatures will eventually perish. Another theory has it that the sun will explode and that the heat generated will be so great that all organic life on earth will be destroyed. That is the comparatively short history and prospect of life on earth. Altogether it amounts to very little when compared with the endless history of the inanimate universe. Biology teaches us that the human species was not specially created but is merely, in a long chain of evolutionary changes of forms of life, the last link, made in the likeness, not of God, but of nothing so much as an ape.