The Edge of Life: Human Dignity and Contemporary Bioethics treats a number of distinct moral questions and ?nds their answer in the dignity of the person, both as an agent and as a patient (in the sense of the recipient of action). Characteristically one’s view of the human being ultimately shapes one’s outlook on these matters. This book addresses questions that divide a culture of life from a culture of death as well as a number of questions debated within the Catholic tradition itself. The Edge of Life offers a critique of the new bio-ethic, represented by such notable authors as Peter Singer; it also attempts to shore up some of the dif?culties leveled by critics against the traditional ethic as well as to answer some questions disputed by those within the tradition. This book does not treat the basic principles of morality but rather many of their applications and suppositions. (For an account of contemporary debates within the Catholic tradition on these matters, see Kaczor 2002). Rather, The Edge of Life seeks to address a number of disputed contemporary questions touching upon human dignity at what has been called “the margins of life. ” The ?rst section of the book treats the dignity of the human person as recipient of action and as agent. Chapter two examines various accounts of when a human being becomes a person.
Tackles some of the toughest practical questions of bioethics
Unifies the account concerning many disparate life issues
The Edge of Life: Human Dignity and Contemporary Bioethics resituates bioethics in fundamental outlook by challenging both the dominant Kantian and utilitarian approaches to evaluating how new technologies apply to human life. Drawing on an analysis of the dignity of the human person, both as an agent and as the recipient of action, The Edge of Life presents a "theoretical" approach to the problems of contemporary bioethics and applies this approach to various disputed questions. Should conjoined twins be split, if the division will end the life of the weaker twin? Was Bush's stem cell research decision morally acceptable? Are the 'quality of life' and 'sanctity of life' ethics irreconcilably incompatible?
Accessible to both scholars and students, The Edge of Life focuses particularly on the controversial issues surrounding the beginning and ending of human life, tackling some of the toughest practical questions of bioethics including new reproductive technologies (artificial wombs), stem cell research, abortion and physician assisted suicide, as well as many of its vexing theoretical disputes.
Acknowledgements. 1. Introduction. 2. When Does a Human Being Become a Person? 3. All Human Beings Are Persons. 4. How Is the Dignity of the Person as Agent Realized? Distinguishing Intention from Foresight. 5. An Ethical Assessment of Bush's Guidelines for Stem Cell Research. 6. Moral Absolutism and Ectopic Pregnancy. 7. Could Artificial Wombs End the Abortion Debate? 8. Solomon's Dilemma: Should Conjoined Twins Jodie and Mary Have Been Separated? 9. Capital Punishment and the Catholic Tradition: Contradiction, Circumstantial Application, or Development of Doctrine?