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LEON R. KASS is a Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and Hertog Fellow in Social Thought at the American Enterprise Institute. Among his books are Toward a More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs; The Hungry Soul; The Ethics of Human Cloning (with James Q. Wilson); and Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying (with Amy A. Kass). In 2001, President Bush Appointed Dr. Kass to chair the new President’s Council on Bioethics.
Most American young people, like their ancestors, harbor desires for a worthy life: a life of meaning, a life that makes sense. But they are increasingly confused about what such a life might look like, and how they might, in the present age, be able to live one. With a once confident culture no longer offering authoritative guidance, the young are now at sea—regarding work, family, religion, and civic identity.
Kass believes that technology has done and will continue to do wonders for our health and longevity and that we have much to be thankful for. But there is more at stake in the biological revolution than saving life and avoiding death. We must also strive to protect the ideals and practices that give us dignity and keep us human. Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity challenges us to confront the posthuman future that may await us by thinking deeply about the momentous issues we face today.