The Hungry Soul is a fascinating exploration of the natural and cultural act of eating. Kass brilliantly reveals how the various aspects of this phenomenon, and the customs, rituals, and taboos surrounding it, relate to universal and profound truths about the human animal and its deepest yearnings. "Kass is a distinguished and graceful writer. . . . It is astonishing to discover how different is our world from that of the animals, even in that which most evidently betrays that we (...) too are animals--our need and desire for food."--Roger Scruton, Times Literary Supplement "Yum."--Miss Manners. (shrink)
: For many reasons, and more than its predecessors, the President's Council on Bioethics has been the subject of much public attention and heated controversy. But little of that attention and controversy has been informed by knowledge of the Council's mission, its ways of working, and, most importantly, its actual work. This essay describes the Council's mission, discusses its public ways of working, and reviews the five major works produced during the Council's first term. In all its activities, the Council (...) has sought to develop a richer bioethics, one that recognizes and tries to do justice to the deep issues of our humanity raised by the age of biotechnology. Believing that these issues are properly matters to be discussed and governed by the polity as a whole, the Council also has sought to contribute to a genuinely public or political bioethics, beyond the rule of "experts," scientific and bioethical. (shrink)
Growing powers to manipulate human bodies and minds, not merely to heal disease but to satisfy desires, control deviant behavior, and to change human nature, make urgent questions of whether and how to regulate their use, not merely to assure safety and efficacy but also to safeguard our humanity. Oversight in democratic societies rightly belongs to the polity, not merely to self-appointed experts, scientific or ethical. Yet the task of governing the uses of dangerous knowledge is daunting, and there is (...) little evidence that we have the will or the wisdom to do it well. (shrink)
Most American young people, like their ancestors, harbor desires for a worthy life: a life of meaning, a life that makes sense. But they are increasingly confused about what such a life might look like, and how they might, in the present age, be able to live one. With a once confident culture no longer offering authoritative guidance, the young are now at sea--regarding work, family, religion, and civic identity. The true, the good, and the beautiful have few defenders, and (...) the higher cynicism mocks any innocent love of wisdom or love of country. We are super-competent regarding efficiency and convenience; we are at a loss regarding what it's all for. Yet because the old orthodoxies have crumbled, our "interesting time" paradoxically offers genuine opportunities for renewal and growth. The old Socratic question, "How to live?," suddenly commands serious attention. Young Americans, if liberated from the prevailing cynicism, will readily embrace weighty questions and undertake serious quests for a flourishing life. All they (and we) need is encouragement. This book provides that necessary encouragement by illuminating crucial (and still available) aspects of a worthy life, and by defending them against their enemies. With chapters on love, family, and friendship; human excellence and human dignity; teaching, learning, and truth; and the great human aspirations of Western civilization, it offers people who are looking on their own for meaning, and as well as to people who are looking to deepen what they have been taught or to square it with the spirit of our time. (shrink)
This topically organized, interdisciplinary anthology provides competing perspective on the claim that western culture faces a moral crisis. Using clearly written, accessible essays by well-known authors in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities, the book introduces students to a variety of perspectives on the current cultural debate about values that percolates beneath the surface of most of our social and political controversies.
_A chapter-by-chapter explanation of the Book of Exodus, revealing its wisdom about nation building and people formation__ "Kass draws from Exodus’ record of the founding of Judaism timely—even urgent—universal lessons about twenty-first-century preconditions for human flourishing in any community. Compelling modern reflections on ancient wisdom.”—Bryce Christensen, _Booklist_ (starred review)_ In this long-awaited follow-up to his 2003 book on Genesis, humanist scholar Leon Kass explores how Exodus raises and then answers the central political questions of what defines a nation and how (...) a nation should govern itself. Considered by some the most important book in the Hebrew Bible, Exodus tells the story of the Jewish people from their enslavement in Egypt, through their liberation under Moses’s leadership, to the covenantal founding at Sinai and the building of the Tabernacle. In Kass’s analysis, these events began the slow process of learning how to stop thinking like slaves and become an independent people. The Israelites ultimately founded their nation on three elements: a shared narrative that instills empathy for the poor and the suffering, the uplifting rule of a moral law, and devotion to a higher common purpose. These elements, Kass argues, remain the essential principles for any freedom-loving nation today. (shrink)
L'A. propose ici une lecture de la Bible, philosophique et en recherche de la sagesse. Il illustre cela en recherchant dans l'étude de la Bible ce qu'il appelle le rêve humaniste qui revient sans cesse de la société rationnelle. Parce que la Bible enseigne, la plupart du temps, non par argumentation, mais par récits, il propose de s'arrêter sur la première histoire concernant ce thème, celle de la ville et de la tour de Babel, racontée dans le livre de la (...) Genèse. (shrink)
Flesh of My Flesh is a collection of articles by today's most respected scientists, philosophers, bioethicists, theologians, and law professors about whether we should allow human cloning. It includes historical pieces to provide background for the current debate. Religious, philosophical, and legal points of view are all represented.