In our globalized world, differing conceptions of human nature and human values raise questions as to whether universal and partisan claims and perspectives can be reconciled, whether interreligious and intercultural conversations can help build human community, and whether a pluralistic ethos can transcend uncompromising notions as to what is true, good, and just. In this volume, world-class scholars from religious studies, the humanities, and the social sciences explore what it means to be human through a multiplicity of lives in time and place as different as fourth-century BCE China and the world of an Alzheimer patient today. Refusing the binary, these essays go beyond description to theories of aging and acceptance, ethics in caregiving, and the role of ritual in healing the inevitable divide between the human and the ideal.
J. Michelle Molina is Assistant Professor of Catholic Studies at Northwestern University. Donald K. Swearer is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School. Michael J. Puett is Professor of Chinese History at Harvard University.