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. 7 understand that the stem cell question, important in its own right, is but the forerunner of a horde of similar questions that we will need to confront, sooner rather than later. The subject of embryo research is not new, and neither is human cloning, the other hotly debated bioethical topic of the past year. Both matters surfaced in the late 1960s and 1970s, following the successful cloning of tadpoles ( 1962) and the birth of the first human “ test- tube baby” ( 1978). And I am not new to these subjects. In the 1970s I published several essays on laboratory- assisted reproduction, cloning, and manipulation of human embryos, 1  the last based on testimony I had given in 1978 before a National Institutes of Health Ethics Advisory Board on the very question of federal funding of human embryo research. The questions we face today are not identical to those of twenty- five years ago. For one thing, no one then was talking about stem cells or the prospects for regenerative medicine. Yet despite changes in the science and technology, the basic moral and political questions remain the same: What does it mean to treat nascent human life as raw material to be exploited as a mere natural resource? What does it mean to blur the line between procreation and manufacture? What are the likely future technical possibilities and moral problems that our present decisions are willy- nilly creating? What moral boundaries should researchers observe, whether they work with federal or with private funds? What are the goals of, and what are the proper limits to, the project for the mas-tery of human nature? Can we control where this project is taking us, so as to reap the benefits without losing our humanity? If so, how? Our recent policy debates, like so many other argu-ments about biomedical technology, tend to neglect these larger questions. We find ourselves reacting piecemeal and   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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