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Beyond the Ethical Demand

K. E. Logstrup

The Danish theologian-philosopher K. E. Løgstrup is second in reputation in his homeland only to Søren Kierkegaard. He is best known outside Europe for his The Ethical Demand, first published in Danish in 1956 and published in an expanded English translation in 1997. Beyond the Ethical Demand contains excerpts, translated into English for the first time, from the numerous books and essays Løgstrup continued to write throughout his life. In the first essay, he engages the critical response to The Ethical Demand, clarifying, elaborating, or defending his original positions. In the next three essays, he extends his contention that human ethics “demands” that we are concerned for the other by introducing the crucial concept of “sovereign expressions of life.” Like Levinas, Løgstrup saw in the phenomenon of “the other” the ground for his ethics. In his later works he developed this concept of “the sovereign expressions of life,” spontaneous phenomena such as trust, mercy, and sincerity that are inherently other-regarding. The last two essays connect his ethics with political life. Interest in Løgstrup in the English-speaking academic community continues to grow, and these important original sources will be essential tools for scholars exploring the further implications of his ethics and phenomenology.

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Bioethics and the Human Goods

An Introduction to Natural Law Bioethics

Alfonso Gomez-Lobo with John Keown

Bioethics and the Human Goods offers students and general readers a brief introduction to bioethics from a "natural law" philosophical perspective. This perspective, which traces its origins to classical antiquity, has profoundly shaped Western ethics and law and is enjoying an exciting renaissance. While compatible with much in the ethical thought of the great religions, it is grounded in reason, not religion. In contrast to the currently dominant bioethical theories of utilitarianism and principlism, the natural law approach offers an understanding of human flourishing grounded in basic human goods, including life, health, friendship, and knowledge, and in the wrongness of intentionally turning against, or neglecting, these goods.

The book is divided into two sections: Foundations and Issues. Foundations sketches a natural law understanding of the important ethical principles of autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice and explores different understandings of "personhood" and whether human embryos are persons. Issues applies a natural law perspective to some of the most controversial debates in contemporary bioethics at the beginning and end of life: research on human embryos, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, the withdrawal of tube-feeding from patients in a "persistent vegetative state," and the definition of death. The text is completed by appendices featuring personal statements by Alfonso Gómez-Lobo on the status of the human embryo and on the definition and determination of death.

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Biomedicine and Beatitude

An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics

Besides ethical questions raised at the beginning and the end of life, Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., discusses the ethics of the clinical encounter, human procreation, organ donation and transplantation, and biomedical research.

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The Bounds of Agency

An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics

Carol Rovane

The subject of personal identity is one of the most central and most contested and exciting in philosophy. Ever since Locke, psychological and bodily criteria have vied with one another in conflicting accounts of personal identity. Carol Rovane argues that, as things stand, the debate is unresolvable since both sides hold coherent positions that our common sense will embrace. Our very common sense, she maintains, is conflicted; so any resolution to the debate is bound to be revisionary. She boldly offers such a revisionary theory of personal identity by first inquiring into the nature of persons.

Rovane begins with a premise about the distinctive ethical nature of persons to which all substantive ethical doctrines, ranging from Kantian to egoist, can subscribe. From this starting point, she derives two startling metaphysical possibilities: there could be group persons composed of many human beings and multiple persons within a single human being. Her conclusion supports Locke's distinction between persons and human beings, but on altogether new grounds. These grounds lie in her radically normative analysis of the condition of personal identity, as the condition in which a certain normative commitment arises, namely, the commitment to achieve overall rational unity within a rational point of view. It is by virtue of this normative commitment that individual agents can engage one another specifically as persons, and possess the distinctive ethical status of persons.

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By Way of Interruption

Levinas and the Ethics of Communication

By Amit Pinchevski

By Way of Interruption presents a radically different way of thinking about communication ethics. While modern communication thought has traditionally viewed successful communication as ethically favorable, Pinchevski proposes the contrary: that ethical communication does not ultimately lie in the successful completion of communication but rather in its interruption; that is, in instances where communication falls short, goes astray, or even fails. Such interruptions, however, do not mark the end of the relationship, but rather its very beginning, for within this interruption communication faces the challenge of alterity. Drawing mainly on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, Pinchevski explores the status of alterity in prevalent communication theories and Levinas’s philosophy of language and communication, especially his distinction between the Said and the Saying, and demonstrates the extent to which communication thought and practice have been preoccupied with the former while seeking to excommunicate the latter. With a strong interdisciplinary spirit, this book proposes an intellectual adventure of risk, uncertainty and the possibility of failure in thinking through the ethics of communication as experienced by an encounter with the other.

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Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition, Second Edition

E. Christian Brugger

Why is the Catholic Church against the death penalty? This second edition of Brugger’s classic work Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition traces the doctrinal path the Church has taken over the centuries to its present position as the world’s largest and most outspoken opponent of capital punishment. The pontificate of John Paul II marked a watershed in Catholic thinking. The pope taught that the death penalty is and can only be rightly assessed as a form of self-defense. But what does this mean? What are its implications for the Church’s traditional retribution-based model of lethal punishment? How does it square with what the Church has historically taught? Brugger argues that the implications of this historic turn have yet to be fully understood. In his new preface, Brugger examines the contribution of the great Polish pope’s closest collaborator and successor in the Chair of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, to Catholic thinking on the death penalty. He argues that Pope Benedict maintained the doctrinal status quo of his predecessor’s teaching on capital punishment as self-defense, with detectable points of reluctance to draw attention to nontraditional implications of that teaching.

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Champion of Choice

The Life and Legacy of Women's Advocate Nafis Sadik

Cathleen Miller

Not many women can claim to have changed history, but Nafis Sadik set that goal in her youth, and change the world she did. Champion of Choice tells the remarkable story of how Sadik, born into a prominent Indian family in 1929, came to be the world’s foremost advocate for women’s health and reproductive rights, the first female director of a United Nations agency, and “one of the most powerful women in the world” (London Times).

An obstetrician, wife, mother, and devout Muslim, Sadik has been a courageous and tireless advocate for women, insisting on discussing the difficult issues that impact their lives: education, contraception, abortion, as well as rape and other forms of violence. After Sadik joined the fledgling UN Population Fund in 1971, her groundbreaking strategy for providing females with education and the tools to control their own fertility has dramatically influenced the global birthrate. This book is the first to examine Sadik’s contribution to history and the unconventional methods she has employed to go head-to-head with world leaders to improve millions of women’s lives.

Interspersed between the chapters recounting Sadik’s life are vignettes of females around the globe who represent her campaign against domestic abuse, child marriage, genital mutilation, and other human rights violations. With its insights into the political, religious, and domestic battles that have dominated women’s destinies, Sadik’s life story is as inspirational as it is dramatic.

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Child Rights

The Movement, International Law, and Opposition

edited by Clark W. Butler

Over twenty years after the 1989 UN General Assembly vote to open the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for signature and ratification by UN member states, the United States remains one of only two UN members not to have ratified it. The other is Somalia. Child Rights: The Movement, International Law, and Opposition explores the reasons for this resistance. It details the objections that have arisen to accepting this legally binding international instrument, which presupposes indivisible universal civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, and gives children special protection due to their vulnerability. The resistance ranges from isolationist attitudes toward international law and concerns over the fiscal impact of implementation, to the value attached to education in a faith tradition and fears about the academic deterioration of public education. The contributors to the book reveal the significant positive influence that the CRC has had, despite not being ratified, on subjects such as educational research, child psychology, development ethics, normative ethics, and anthropology. The book also explores the growing homeschooling trend, which is often evangelically led in the US, but which is at loggerheads with an equally growing social science-based movement of experts and ethicists pressing for greater autonomy and freedom of expression for children. Looking beyond the US, the book also addresses some of the practical obstacles that have emerged to implementing the CRC in both developed countries (for example, Canada and the United Kingdom) and in poorer nations. This book, polemical and yet balanced, helps the reader evaluate both positive and the negative implications of this influential piece of international legislation from a variety of ethical, legal, and social science perspectives.

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Civil Disagreement

Personal Integrity in a Pluralistic Society

Edward Langerak

How can we agree to disagree in today's pluralistic society, one in which individuals and groups are becoming increasingly polarized by fierce convictions that are often at odds with the ideas of others? Civil Disagreement: Personal Integrity in a Pluralistic Society shows how we can cope with diversity and be appropriately open toward opponents even while staying true to our convictions. This accessible and useful guide discusses how our conversations and arguments can respect differences and maintain personal integrity and civility even while taking stances on disputed issues. The author examines an array of illustrative cases, such as debates over slavery, gay marriage, compulsory education for the Amish, and others, providing helpful insights on how to take firm stands without denigrating opponents. The author proposes an approach called "perspective pluralism" that honors the integrity of various viewpoints while avoiding the implication that all reasonable views are equally acceptable or true.

Civil Disagreement offers a concise yet comprehensive guide for students and scholars of philosophical or religious ethics, political or social philosophy, and political science, as well as general readers who are concerned about the polarization that often seems to paralyze national and international politics.

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Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity

Drucilla Cornell

In this risk-taking book, a major feminist philosopher engages the work of the actor and director who has progressed from being the stereotypical man's manto pushing the boundaries of the very genres-the Western, the police thriller, the war or boxing movie-most associated with American masculinity. Cornell's highly appreciative encounter with the films directed by Clint Eastwood revolve around the questions What is it to be a good man?and What is it to be, not just an ethical person, but specifically an ethical man?Focusing on Eastwood as a director rather than as an actor or cultural icon, she studies Eastwood in relation to major philosophical and ethical themes that have been articulated in her own life's work.In her fresh and revealing readings of the films, Cornell takes up pressing issues of masculinity as it is caught up in the very definition of ideas of revenge, violence, moral repair, and justice. Eastwood grapples with this involvement of masculinity in and through many of the great symbols of American life, including cowboys, boxing, police dramas, and ultimately war-perhaps the single greatest symbol of what it means (or is supposed to mean) to be a man. Cornell discusses films from across Eastwood's career, from his directorial debut with Play Misty for Me to Million Dollar Baby.Cornell's book is not a traditional book of film criticism or a cinematographic biography. Rather, it is a work of social commentary and ethical philosophy. In a world in which we seem to be losing our grip on shared symbols, along with community itself, Eastwood's films work with the fragmented symbols that remain to us in order to engage masculinity with the most profound moral and ethical issues facing us today.

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