Life, Liberty and the Defense of...

Thoughful, often profound writting about the limits of science and the limits of life, about what makes us human and gives us human dignity.

Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity Leon R. Kass, M. D. 10 * Throughout this book, the term “ liberal” is used in its classical sense, referring to regimes, societies, mores, principles and world-views that celebrate human freedom. Its opposite is not “ conser-vative,” but “ illiberal,” “ unfree,” “ totalitarian,” “ theocratic,” or “ despotic.” Similarly, the term “ democratic” refers to regimes, societ-ies, mores, principles and worldviews that celebrate human equality. Its opposite is not “ Republican,” but “ aristocratic,” “ hierarchic,” or “ monarchic.” In the sense in which I use the terms, nearly all Ameri-cans, whether ideologically liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, are both “ liberals” and “ democrats.” Facing a Posthuman Future The urgency of the great political struggles of the twentieth century, successfully waged against totalitarianisms of the right and of the left, seems to have blinded many people to a deeper and ultimately darker truth about the pres-ent age: nearly all contemporary societies, East as well as West, are traveling briskly in the same utopian direction. Nearly all are wedded to the modern technological project; all march eagerly to the drums of progress and fly proudly the banner of modern science; all sing loudly the Baconian anthem, “ Conquer nature, relieve man’s estate.” Leading the triumphal procession is modern medicine, which is daily becoming ever more powerful in its battle against disease, decay and death, thanks especially to astonishing achieve-ments in biomedical science and technology— achievements for which we must surely be grateful. Yet contemplating present and projected advances in genetic and reproductive technologies, in neuroscience and psychopharmacology, in the development of artificial organs and computer- chip implants for human brains, and in research to retard aging, we now clearly recognize new uses for biotechnical power that soar beyond the traditional   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C

Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics


About Book Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics

Front MatterFront CoverTitle PageCopyright PageContentsIntroductionFacing a Posthuman FutureThe Need for a Richer BioethicsThe Strengths and Limits of Liberal PrinciplesThe Search for Human DignityAn Overview of the ArgumentNature and Purposes of Technology and EthicsEthical Challenges from BiotechnologyLife and Lineage: Genetics and the Beginning of LifeBody and Soul: Parts and Whole in the Midst of LifeDeath and Immortality: Staying Human at the End of LifeNature and Purposes of BiologyAcknowledgmentsNotes
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