Defending Human Dignity
About This Event

Leon Kass of AEI and University of Chicago delivered the February Bradley Lecture.

In our new world of biotechnology, gathering powers to intervene in human bodies and minds raise profound challenges to the meaning of our humanity. Crucial to meeting those challenges is a robust notion of human dignity—the special standing and worth of human being and of being human. Yet we face today considerable disagreements about what human dignity is and what it rests on: Do all human beings have an unalienable dignity simply by virtue of being alive? Or can we destroy (or enhance) our dignity, dehumanizing (or humanizing) ourselves and undermining (or increasing) chances for full human flourishing? In this lecture, Dr. Kass will explore the relationship between two equally important—but sometimes conflicting—ideas: the basic dignity of human being and the full dignity of being human.

Leon R. Kass, M.D., is the Hertog Fellow at AEI, and researches bioethics, ethics, philosophy, marriage, family, and social mores. He served as chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2002–2005, and was a senior fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago from 1991–2001. Dr. Kass served as senior fellow and associate director of the John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy at the University of Chicago from 1986–2001. He was a member, vice chairman, and committee chairman of the National Council on the Humanities/National Endowment for the Humanities from 1984–91. He remains a part-time professor in the College and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1976. Prior to this time he was a research professor in bioethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University and a tutor at St. John’s College in Annapolis.

5:15 p.m.
Christopher DeMuth, AEI
Leon R. Kass, AEI
Adjournment with Wine and Cheese Reception
Event Materials
Defending Human Dignity
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