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The Very Autonomous Steven Pinker

In May, Steven Pinker published in the New Republic a jeremiad against dignity as a tool of thought in bioethics. Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard, works at the interface of cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and psychology. He is, like most of that kind of psychologist, a . . . . Continue Reading »

Worrying About the "Bioethics Crisis."

An article has been published in the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) entitled “Bioethics Crisis Looms Unless NIH Changes Course, Critics Warn,” byline Richard Monastersky. Bioethics crisis? Apparently, practitioners believe we need more bioethicists to tell us what . . . . Continue Reading »

The Politics of Bioethics

Is “human dignity” a useful concept in bioethics? Does it shed important light on the whole range of bioethical issues? Or is it instead a useless concept—a slogan that camouflages unconvincing arguments and unarticulated biases? The President’s Council on Bioethics recently asked me . . . . Continue Reading »

Clueless Bioethicists at JAMA

Sometimes I think that to some bioethicists, it’s all a mind game. The latest example is an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are on a hunger strike, and the authors are upset because army doctors are helping to force feed them. . . . . Continue Reading »

Between Beasts and God

Near the beginning of the twenty-fourth and last Book of Homer’s Iliad, called by Simone Weil “the only true epic” the West possesses, even the gods—detached as they are in their bliss from all sufferings—have seen enough. Achilles has become inhuman. Ignoring our animal nature, . . . . Continue Reading »

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