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. 11 medical goals of healing disease and relieving suffering. Human nature itself lies on the operating table, ready for alteration, for eugenic and neuropsychic “ enhancement,” for wholesale redesign. In leading laboratories, academic and industrial, new creators are confidently amassing their powers and quietly honing their skills, while on the street their evangelists are zealously prophesying a posthuman future. For anyone who cares about preserving our human-ity, the time has come to pay attention. Some transforming powers are already here. The Pill. In vitro fertilization. Bottled embryos. Surrogate wombs. Cloning. Genetic screening. Genetic manipulation. Organ harvesting. Mechanical spare parts. Chimeras. Brain implants. Ritalin for the young, Viagra for the old, Prozac for everyone. And, to leave this vale of tears, a little extra morphine accompanied by Muzak. Aldous Huxley saw it coming two generations ago. In his charming but disturbing novel Brave New World ( it appeared in 1932 and, for me, is more powerful on each re- reading), he made its meaning strikingly visible for all to see. Unlike other frightening futuristic novels of the past century, such as Orwell’s already dated Nineteen Eighty- Four, Huxley’s portrays a dystopia that goes with, rather than against, the human grain. Indeed, it is animated by our most humane and progressive aspirations. Following those aspirations to their ultimate realization, Huxley enables us to recognize those less obvious but often more pernicious evils that are inextricably linked to the successful attain-ment of partial goods. Huxley depicts human life seven centuries hence, living under the gentle hand of humanitarianism rendered fully competent by genetic manipulation, psychoactive drugs, hypnopaedia and high- tech amusements. At long last,   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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