28. October 2021
Prof. Dr. Mark Schweda, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Ethik in der Medizin
In light of increasing life expectancies and unprecedented population aging, ethical debates about aging in the context of medicine and healthcare require an explicit reflection on what it actually means to age and to be old. I will argue that the life course-paradigm provides a suitable theoretical starting point for such a discussion. It allows for the conceptualization of human life as a socio-culturally standardized sequence of phases and trajectories, each linked to a particular status as well as to specific roles, moral expectations, and life prospects. I will highlight the relevance of such a life course-perspective with regard to contemporary ethical debates on medical care and futility, assistive technologies in eldercare, and age-based rationing of healthcare resources. I conclude that medical ethical reasoning needs to appreciate and theoretically accommodate the normative implications of the temporal structure of human existence.