Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Motivations for Pursuing Radical Life Extension

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posted on 2021-12-08, 17:52 authored by Campbell, Lucinda April

In bio-ethics, the potential practical and ethical implications of radical life extension are being seriously debated. However, the role of motivation in relation to dramatically increasing the human life span has been largely overlooked. I propose that motivation is a crucial aspect to consider within the radical life extension discourse by conjecturing about why it might appeal and the possible ways it could impact outcomes where it is successfully developed and implemented. I do not thereby present an argument that supports or opposes radical life extension technology. This is ultimately a speculative piece. In exploring the relationship between motivation and radical life extension, I present a conceptual framework called the Thanatophobic and Romantic Motivational Spectrum (TRM Spectrum) designed to assist deeper examination on the subject. It captures what I suggest are two key motivators related to life and death, that is, the fear of death (Thanatophobia) and the “love” of life (Romanticism). The motivational spectrum is then applied to the death penalty versus life imprisonment, and euthanasia and suicide debates to demonstrate how it can be used for analysis of ethical issues in relation to the potential introduction of radical life extension technology.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

3 Applied Research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Agar, Nicholas