The Meaning of Human Dignity

time-to-learnI’ve been a faithful listener to Mars Hill Audio for many years (not to be confused with Mars Hill Church).

In a recent post on The Meaning of Human Dignity, they note the following: 

In his 1985 book, Toward a More Natural Science, Leon Kass observed: “Liberal democracy, founded on a doctrine of human freedom and dignity, has as its most respected body of thought a teaching that has no room for freedom and dignity.”

Kass was referring to the fact that a materialistic science, science detached from any metaphysical or religious definitions of human nature or purpose, had achieved an exalted place in Western societies.

Kass went on to make the irony of our dilemma even more pointed:

“Liberal democracy has reached a point–thanks in no small part to the success of the arts and sciences to which it is wedded–where it can no longer defend intellectually its founding principles. Likewise also the Enlightenment: It has brought forth a science that can initiate human life in the laboratory but is without embarrassment incompetent to say what it means either by life or by the distinctively human, and, therefore, whose teachings about man cannot even begin to support its own premise that enlightenment enriches life.”

“During his tenure as chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, Kass was unflinching in his insistence that laws and regulations that had bioethical ramifications ought to be based on first principles about the meaning of the human.

See also – The dignity and worth of human beings

Steve Cornell

 

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