14 Apr

Being Human: Readings from the President's Council on Bioethics

Category: What We're Reading
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 04/14/04

Ovid, St. Augustine, Francis Bacon, W. H. Auden, Thomas Mann, and Vladimir Nabokov are some of the authors whose works grace the pages of a new anthology edited and published by the President's Council on Bioethics. Being Human: Readings from the President's Council on Bioethics speaks—through its stories, poems, memoirs, and the introductions that accompany them—to the matters and dilemmas facing humanity in an age of biotechnology. In a letter introducing Being Human the executive director of the Council writes, "The Council offers this volume in the hope that it will help advance the goals with which the Council was established, namely, 'to undertake fundamental inquiry into the human and moral significance of developments in biomedical and behavioral science and technology . . . To provide a forum for a national discussion of bioethical issues' and to 'strive to develop a deep and comprehensive understanding of the issues [the Council] considers.'" The anthology is divided into ten chapters: "The Search for Perfection"; "Scientific Aspirations"; "To Heal Sometimes, To Comfort Always"; "Are We Our Bodies?"; "Many Stages, One Life"; "Among the Generations"; "Why Not Immortality?"; "Vulnerability and Suffering"; "Living Immediately"; and "Human Dignity". [Posted April 2004, ALG]