Who Count as Persons?: Human Identity and the Ethics of Killing (Moral Traditions Series)
By: John F. Kavanaugh (author)Paperback
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Just what is a human being? Who counts? The answers to these questions are crucial when one is faced with the ethical issue of taking human life. In this affirmation of the intrinsic personal dignity and inviolability of every human individual, John Kavanaugh, S.J., denies that it can ever be moral to intentionally kill another. Today in every corner of the world men and women are willing to kill others in the name of "realism" and under the guise of race, class, quality of life, sex, property, nationalism, security, or religion. We justify these killings by either excluding certain humans from our definition of personhood or by invoking a greater good or more pressing value. Kavanaugh contends that neither alternative is acceptable. He formulates an ethics that opposes the intentional killing not only of medically "marginal" humans but also of depersonalized or criminalized enemies. Offering a philosophy of the person that embraces the undeveloped, the wounded, and the dying, he proposes ways to recover a personal ethical stance in a global society that increasingly devalues the individual.
Kavanaugh discusses the work of a range of philosophers, artists, and activists from Richard Rorty and Soren Kierkegaard to Albert Camus and Woody Allen, from Mother Teresa to Jack Kevorkian. His approach is in stark contrast to that of writer Peter Singer and others who believe that not all human life has intrinsic moral worth. It will challenge philosophers, students of ethics, and anyone concerned about the depersonalization of contemporary life.
John F. Kavanaugh, SJ, a professor of philosophy at Saint Louis University, is author of Following Christ in a Consumer Society and The Word Embodied. He writes the "Ethics Notebook" column for the publication America.
Preface 1. Introduction 2. Personal Losses Traces of Lost PersonsThe Fear and Call of Personal RealitySocial and Political DepersonalizationImpersonal Theory, De-Personed Philosophythe Texture of Personal Reality and Ethical Experience 3. Personal Bodies On the Matter and Spirit of MapsOn the Matter and Spirit of PersonsPersonal EmbodimentBody as Object, Body as SubjectAmbiguities of EmbodimentThe "My-ness" and "Me-Ness" of a Personal BodyPersonal ConsciousnessPersonalized World 4. Endowments of Embodied Persons Personal FoundationsAwareness of Awaress, Selves, and PersonsThe Endowment of FreedomThe Endowment of Love in Self-Conscious AffirmationEndowed Human PersonPersonal Nature 5. Personal Entries into EthicsInescapable Perspectives of PersonsAchieving the Moral good and Doing the Right ThingKant and the Pull to the InteriorMill and the Pull OutwardThe Personal CenterThe Intrinsic TurnKilling, Autonomy, and Intrinsic Values 6. Before Good and Evil The Field of Moral ExperienceThe Dynamics of Personal Moral JudgmentThe Subjective Internal DimensionContext, Culture, and Personal ChallengeNegation of Truth and the Beginning of EvilFalls and Crimes 7. Killing Persons and Ethics The Logic of TerrorThe Moral Inviolability of PersonsDefending Life by Intending DeathKilling Incomplete PersonsKilling Defective or Dying Persons 8. Reviving Personal Life The Choice of RealitiesThe "Reality" of Consumer CapitalismReviving Personal SolitudeRecovering Personal RelationshipsRevealing Human Vulnerability Notes Bibliography Index
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- ID: 9780878408375
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