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Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics

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Profoundly important ethical and political controversies turn on the question of whether bio-logical life is an essential aspect of a human person, or only an extrinsic instrument. Patrick Lee and Robert P. George argue that human beings are physical, animal organisms-albeit essentially rational and free - and examine the implications of this understanding of human beings for some of the most controversial issues in, contemporary ethics and politics. The authors argue that human beings are animal organisms and that their personal identity across time consists in the persistence of the animal organisms they are; they also argue that human beings are essentially rational and free and that there is a radical difference between human beings and other animals, criticize hedonism and hedonistic drug-taking, present detailed defenses of the prolife positions on abortion and euthanasia and defend the traditional moral position on marriage and sexual acts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Robert P. George... is this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker."
-David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times

"This new book by Lee and George promises to be a book of singular importance and standing—a book whose arguments would have to be addressed by anyone seriously entering the discussions in this field. Lee and George address the most contentious issues in our politics— euthanasia, abortion, hedonism, same-sex marriage, homosexuality— yet they move with scrupulous fairness to give an accurate account of arguments ‘on the other side,’ and meet those arguments directly and fully."
Hadley Arkes, Amherst College

"Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics is a rigorous, bold defense of the biological, material unity and value of persons. Lee and George vigorously challenge competing accounts in philosophy of mind and personal identity, and then employ their unified theory of human nature to confront contemporary treatments of reproduction, sexual ethics, and other matters of practical moral concern. This book defends some controversial, ‘conservative’ values with systematic, clear arguments; it deserves a wide readership."
Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf’s College

"The greatest interest lies in the detail of the argument and the way in which it illuminates the familiar while also producing unexpected insights and leading to a noble and convincing conception of human beings as at once living animals, intellectual subjects, and moral and spiritual will aid the much needed challenge to prevailing orthodoxies"
-First Things

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521124195
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/14/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick Lee is Director of the Bioethics Institute and Professor of Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is the author of Abortion and Unborn Human Life (1996), and his articles and review essays have appeared in American Journal of Jurisprudence, Bioethics, Faith and Philosophy, Philosophy, The Thomist, International Philosophical Quarterly, and other scholarly journals, as well as popular journals and online magazines.

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is a member of the President's Council on Bioethics and the Council of Foreign Relations, as well as a former member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and essays, including In Defense of Natural Law (1999) and The Clash of Orthodoxies (2001). He has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, First Things, the Boston Review, New Criterion, and the Times Literary Supplement.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

I Human Beings Are Animals 4

I Main Challenges to Establishing the First Premise 5

II Animals are Enduring Agents 6

III Sensation is a Bodily Act 10

Iv In Human Being the Agent that Performs the Act of Sensing Is Identical with the Agent that Performs the Act of Understanding 15

V An Argument from the Nature of Human Intelligence 16

VI On Privileged Access and the Modal Argument for Substance Dualism 19

VII Human and Personal Identity: The Psychological Continuity View 22

VIII Against Constitutionalism 38

IX Conjoined Twins and Organic Unity and Distinctness 44

2 Human Beings Are Persons 50

I The Difference in Kind between Human Beings and Other Animals 52

A Conceptual Thought 52

B Free Choice, Moral Agency 59

II Survival after Death 66

A The Human Soul after Death 66

B Resurrection of the Body 74

III Personhood and Human Dignity 81

3 Hedonism and Hedonistic Drug-Taking 95

I What Hedonism Is 95

II Preliminary Arguments against Psychological and Ethical Hedonism 98

III An Argument against Hedonism from Qualitative Differences among Pleasures 100

IV Hedonism and Dualism 103

V Pleasures Are Good Only as Aspects of Real Perfections 108

VI Hedonistic Drug-Taking 115

4 Abortion 118

I The Biological Issue: Human Embryos or Fetuses Are Complete (Though Immature) Human Beings 119

II No-Person Arguments: The Dualist Version 130

III No-Person Arguments: The Evaluative Version 133

Iv The Argument that Abortion Is Justified as Nonintentional Killing 140

5 Euthanasia 151

I Human Life and Personhood Near the End of Life 152

II The Human Individual Remains a Person during His or Her WholeDuration 154

II Why Suicide and Euthanasia Are Morally Wrong 155

IV Intentional Killing versus Causing Death as a Side Effect 157

V Human Life Is an Intrinsic Good 160

VI The Definition of Death 163

VII The Criterion of Death 165

VIII Human Life and Dignity 169

6 Sex and the Body 176

I Sex and Marriage 179

II Sex and Pleasure 185

III Sex, Love, and Affection 193

A sodomy 194

B Fornication 196

IV Objections 197

V Nonmarital Sexual Acts, Multiple Partners, Incest, Bestiality&hellip 209

Index 219

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