Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Designing Our Descendants

From the January 2001 Print Edition

In one of the classic early discussions about the possible uses of advancing genetic knowledge to control and reshape human life, Paul Ramsey, more than thirty years ago, wrote the following: I . . . raise the question whether a scientist has not an entirely “frivolous conscience” who, faced . . . . Continue Reading »

What Sex Is–And Is For

From the April 2000 Print Edition

Sexuality and the Christian Body By Eugene F. Rogers, Jr. Blackwell. 303 pp. $62.95. The blurbs on the back cover of this book create in the potential reader an expectation of something new”a creative, original approach to the morality of homosexual acts, not just a rehashing of standard . . . . Continue Reading »

Still Waiting for Benedict

From the October 1999 Print Edition

Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues By Alasdair MacIntyre. Open Court. 166 pp. $26.95 The MacIntyre Reader Edited by Kelvin Knight.University of Notre Dame Press. 300 pp. $40 It would be hard to think of any book of moral philosophy written in the last fifty years that has . . . . Continue Reading »

Lewis Remembered

From the August/September 1999 Print Edition

C. S. Lewis: Memories and Reflections.By John Lawlor.Spence. 132 pp. $22.95. When John Lawlor became a student at Magdalen College of Oxford University in October of 1936, he found that C. S. Lewis was to be his tutor. At that time, of course, he knew nothing in particular of Lewis, but over the . . . . Continue Reading »

The (Very) Last Word

From the June/July 1999 Print Edition

The Last Word.By Thomas Nagel.Oxford University Press.  147 pp. $19.95. How refreshing and intellectually stimulating it is to read a philosopher––and one as smart as Thomas Nagel––say a favorable word on behalf of Descartes. In a time when “Cartesian” has almost become a pejorative . . . . Continue Reading »

Who is My Friend?

From the May 1999 Print Edition

Among the “first things” of life in the classical world of Greece and Rome was friendship. As an intimate, affectionate, and loyal bond between two (or a few) persons, a bond unlike those of kin or tribe in that it is not simply given with birth, friendship will always have about it something a . . . . Continue Reading »

The Slowness of the Good

From the March 1999 Print Edition

Patience: How We Wait Upon the World.By David Baily Harned.Cowley. 191 pp. $12.95 Over the past several decades both philosophers and theologians within the academy have participated in a revival of interest in what is generally called “virtue ethics”–an ethic that focuses not so much upon . . . . Continue Reading »

Man as Lucifer

From the February 1999 Print Edition

The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy by J.B. Scheewind Cambridge University Press, 624 pages, $69.95 cloth, $24.95 The autonomy whose invention J. B. Schneewind explores in this long and magisterial history of seventeenth-and eighteenth-century moral philosophy is Kantian . . . . Continue Reading »