Sunday, October 07, 2007

Speaking of Bioethics

Which is the main area we will explore in our Moral Philosophy course, here is an article by Professor May on Theology and Bioethics. So, does this mean that you need a theological perspective in order to fully understand Natural Law?

Well, it seems that philosophical anthropology precedes, in some sense, moral philosophy. We must first know who and what we are before we can determine what, if anything, is right and wrong for us. And a basic question must be answered. If you break my arm, are you hurting my body or are you hurting me?

Many modern philosophers apparently have, consciously or otherwise, a dualistic understanding of humanity. For them we are divided into two categories: human beings (all of us) and human persons (the conscious, possibly rational, component of the population). Only the latter have value of some sort. For them, before rational consciousness we are things. And our bodies, which pre-existed us, in effect, are our instruments, over which we have dominion: "It's my body and I'll do what I like with it".

The opposing view, reflected, perhaps first, in Jewish Scriptural anthropology, is that we are a unity. Our corporeal existence is us. We are our bodies. And when you write abstruse, verbose posts early on a Sunday morning, you're not just hurting my head; you're hurting me. So there.

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