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Modern and American Dignity

Who We Are as Persons, and What That Means for Our Future

Modern and American Dignity by Peter Lawler
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An Indispensable Guide to Our Most Pressing Moral and Political Debates

The horrors of the twentieth century exposed the insufficiency of speaking of human rights. In intending to extinguish whole classes of human beings, the Nazis and Communists did something much worse than violating rights; they aimed to reduce us all to less than who we really are. As political philosopher Peter Augustine Lawler shows in this illuminating book, rights are insecure without some deeper notion of human dignity.

The threats to human dignity remain potent today—all the more so for being less obvious. Our anxious and aging society has embraced advances in science, technology, and especially biotechnology—from abortion and embryonic stem-cell research to psychopharmacology, cosmetic surgery and neurology, genetic manipulation, and the detachment of sex from reproduction. But such technical advances can come at the expense of our natural and creaturely dignity, of what we display when we know who we are and what we’re supposed to do. Our lives will only become more miserably confused if we cannot speak confidently about human dignity.

In Modern and American Dignity, Lawler, who served on President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics, reveals the intellectual and cultural trends that threaten our confidence in human dignity. Exploring a wide range of topics with wit and elegance, Lawler has provided an indispensable guide to today’s complex political, bioethical, and cultural debates.

Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ORD); April 2014
288 pages; ISBN 9781497636361
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Title: Modern and American Dignity
Author: Peter Lawler
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