Leon Kass

Last updated
Leon Richard Kass
KassPCOB.jpg
Born
Leon Richard Kass

(1939-02-12) February 12, 1939 (age 80)
ResidenceUnited States
Alma mater University of Chicago
Harvard University
Known for President's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005; appreciation of the natural; opposition to human cloning and euthanasia
Scientific career
Fields Bioethics, medicine, human rights
Institutions University of Chicago

Leon Richard Kass (born February 12, 1939) is an American physician, scientist, educator, and public intellectual, best known as proponent of liberal education via the "Great Books," as an opponent of human cloning, life extension and euthanasia, as a critic of certain areas of technological progress and embryo research, and for his controversial tenure as chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005. Although Kass is often referred to as a bioethicist, [1] he eschews the term and refers to himself as "an old-fashioned humanist. A humanist is concerned broadly with all aspects of human life, not just the ethical." [2]

Americans citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents, may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Physician professional who practices medicine

A physician, medical practitioner, medical doctor, or simply doctor is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Physicians may focus their practice on certain disease categories, types of patients and methods of treatment—known as specialities—or they may assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities—known as general practice. Medical practice properly requires both a detailed knowledge of the academic disciplines underlying diseases and their treatment—the science of medicine—and also a decent competence in its applied practice—the art or craft of medicine.

Scientist person that studies a science

A scientist is someone who conducts scientific research to advance knowledge in an area of interest.

Contents

Kass is currently the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the College and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and the Hertog Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. His books include Toward A More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs; The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of our Nature; Life, Liberty, and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics; The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis; and What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song.

The College of the University of Chicago is the university's sole undergraduate institution and one of its oldest components, emerging contemporaneously with the university's Hyde Park campus in 1892. Instruction is provided by faculty from across all graduate divisions and schools for its 6,300 students, but the College retains a select group of young, proprietary scholars who teach its core curriculum offerings. Unlike many major American research universities, the College is small in comparison to the University's graduate divisions, with graduate students outnumbering undergraduates at a 2:1 ratio. The College is most notable for its core curriculum pioneered by Robert Maynard Hutchins, which remains among the most expansive of highly ranked American colleges, as well as its emphasis on preparing students for continued graduate study since 85% of graduates go onto graduate study within 5 years of graduation, which is higher than any other school, and around 15-20% of graduates go on to receive PhDs.

The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought is one of several PhD-granting committees at the University of Chicago. It was started in 1941 by historian John Ulric Nef along with economist Frank Knight, anthropologist Robert Redfield, and University President Robert Maynard Hutchins.

University of Chicago Private research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The University of Chicago is a private, non-profit research university in Chicago, Illinois. The university is composed of an undergraduate college, various graduate programs and interdisciplinary committees organized into five academic research divisions and seven professional schools. Beyond the arts and sciences, Chicago is also well known for its professional schools, which include the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Booth School of Business, the Law School, the School of Social Service Administration, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, the Divinity School and the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. The university holds top-ten positions in various national and international rankings.

Early life and education

Kass was born in Chicago to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. He described his family as "Yiddish speaking, secular, socialist." [3] Although his upbringing was not religious, it was moralist: "Morality, not Judaism, was the religion of our home, morality colored progressively pink with socialism, less on grounds of Marxist theory, more out of zeal for social justice and human dignity." [4] He would not begin to explore his religious heritage until later in his career

Yiddish is the historical language of the Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century in Central Europe, providing the nascent Ashkenazi community with a High German-based vernacular fused with elements taken from Hebrew and Aramaic as well as from Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages. Yiddish is written with a fully vocalized version of the Hebrew alphabet.

Kass enrolled in the University of Chicago at age 15, graduating from the College with a degree in biology in 1958. The College was well known for its extensive core curriculum, and Kass studied the "great books" then prescribed by Chicago's core. "I became a devotee of liberal education . . . with a special fondness for the Greeks." [4] He graduated from the University of Chicago's medical school in 1962 and, following an internship in medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, completed a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Harvard University in 1967, working in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Konrad Bloch. [5] Around this time Kass began to develop an interest in morality in medicine and in bio medical ethics, instigated partly as a result of reading Rousseau's Discourse on the Arts and Sciences. [6]

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Hospital in Massachusetts, United States

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, Massachusetts is a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. It was formed out of the 1996 merger of Beth Israel Hospital and New England Deaconess Hospital. Among independent teaching hospitals, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center consistently ranks in the top three recipients of biomedical research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Research funding totals nearly $200 million annually. BIDMC researchers run more than 850 active sponsored projects and 200 clinical trials. The Harvard-Thorndike General Clinical Research Center, the oldest clinical research laboratory in the United States, has been located on this site since 1973.

Boston Capital city of Massachusetts, United States

Boston is the capital and most populous municipality of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 685,094 in 2017, making it also the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States.

Harvard University private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 post graduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.

In 1961, Kass married the former Amy Apfel, a fellow graduate of the College of the University of Chicago. As instructors in the College in later years, they would frequently teach seminars together. [7] Their scholarly collaborations include several articles on marriage and courtship and a reader on the subject. [8] In 2011, they published a joint project, What So Proudly We Hail, that uses literature to examine the American soul. [9] Amy Kass died of complications from ovarian cancer and leukemia on August 19, 2015. [10]

Leon and Amy Kass went to Holmes County, Mississippi, during the summer of 1965 to do civil rights work. Working with the Medical Community for Human Rights and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the Kasses "lived with a farmer couple in the Mount Olive community, in a house with no telephone, hot water, or indoor toilet. They visited many families in the community, participated in their activities, and helped with voter registration and other efforts to encourage the people to organize themselves in defense of their rights." [11] Later that fall, Kass wrote a letter to his family and friends detailing his and his wife's experiences and appealing to them to donate to the Civil Rights Movement. [11]

Holmes County, Mississippi county in Mississippi, United States

Holmes County is a county in the U.S. state of Mississippi; its western border is formed by the Yazoo River and the eastern border by the Big Black River. The western part of the county is within the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,198. Its county seat is Lexington. The county is named in honor of David Holmes, territorial governor and the first governor of the state of Mississippi. A favorite son, Edmond Favor Noel, was an attorney and state politician, elected as governor of Mississippi, serving from 1908 to 1912.

Civil rights movement Social movement in the United States during the 20th century

The civil rights movement in the United States was a decades-long struggle with the goal of enforcing constitutional and legal rights for African Americans that other Americans already enjoyed. With roots that dated back to the Reconstruction era during the late 19th century, the movement achieved its largest legislative gains in the mid-1960s, after years of direct actions and grassroots protests that were organized from the mid-1950s until 1968. Encompassing strategies, various groups, and organized social movements to accomplish the goals of ending legalized racial segregation, disenfranchisement, and discrimination in the United States, the movement, using major nonviolent campaigns, eventually secured new recognition in federal law and federal protection for all Americans.

The character of the rural, poor, and uneducated African Americans with whom they lived and worked contrasted with his colleagues at Harvard and other elite universities. It was this experience, he later said, that

caused me to shed my enlightenment faith and ultimately begin a journey in which Jewish thought would ultimately come to play a more prominent part. Why, I wondered then, was there more honor, decency, and dignity among the impoverished and ignorant but church-going black farmers with whom we had lived than among my privileged and educated fellow graduate students at Harvard, whose progressive opinions I shared but whose self-absorption and self-indulgence put me off. If poverty and superstition were the cause of bad character, how to explain this? [4]

First forays into bioethics

After completing his doctorate, Kass conducted molecular biology research for the National Institutes of Health, authoring several scientific papers [12] while serving in the U.S. Public Health Service. His early interest in bioethics was stimulated by Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and C. S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man , both of which he read at the suggestion of Harvey Flaumenhaft. [13] In these books, Kass saw examples of "how the scientific project to master nature could, if we are not careful, lead to our dehumanization, via eugenics, drug-induced contentment, and other transformations of human nature, possibilities already foreseeable in the new biology. . . . Will man remain a creature made in the image of God, aspiring to align himself with the divine, or will he become an artifact created by man in the image of God-knows-what, fulfilling the aspirations only of human will? . . . I soon shifted my career from doing science to thinking about its human meaning." [4]

In 1967, Kass read an article by Joshua Lederberg suggesting that humans could one day be cloned, permitting the perpetuation of the genotypes of geniuses. [14] In a letter to the editor, Kass made a moral case against cloning and suggested that "the programmed reproduction of man will, in fact, dehumanize him." [5] Thus began a second career of writing on bioethics, including essays on organ transplantation, genetic screening, in vitro fertilization, cloning, the conquest of aging, assisted suicide, medical ethics, and biotechnology. Kass was also involved in founding the Hastings Center. In 1970, he left the laboratory at NIH to become the executive director of the Committee on Life Sciences and Social Policy at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science, which produced the first public document that tried to assess the ethical and social consequences of the coming advances in biotechnology. [15]

Teaching experience

As he moved from biology to bioethics, Kass also moved from full-time research into teaching, first at St. John's College from 1972 to 1976, Georgetown University from 1974 to 1976, and at Chicago from 1976 onward. At St. John's, Kass taught in the Great Books program as well as in-depth studies of Aristotle's De Anima and Nicomachean Ethics and Darwin's On the Origin of Species . At the University of Chicago, Kass taught courses across the humanities and sciences, including both undergraduate and graduate seminars in the Nicomachean Ethics, Plato's Symposium and Meno , Lucretius, human passions, science and society, Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality , Genesis, Darwinism, Descartes's Discourse on the Method , classical geometry, Tolstoy's War and Peace , marriage and courtship, Exodus, and biotechnology.

Along with his wife and other colleagues, Kass cofounded in 1977 the "Human Being and Citizen" common core course at Chicago, today the most popular humanities core course at Chicago, devoted to the question of what is an excellent human being and what an excellent citizen. [16] In 1983, he, Allan Bloom, and James M. Redfield founded the "Fundamentals: Issues and Texts" program. Kass taught in and chaired this program for eighteen years. He won the University of Chicago's Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1983 and the Amoco Foundation Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching in 1993. [12]

"The president's philosopher"

As the stem cell controversy brewed in the late 1990s and into 2001, President George W. Bush had to decide whether to allow federal funding for research on stem cells derived from embryos. Many scientists were advocating the removal of limits on embryonic stem cell research, but critics expressed concern about what they characterized as the wanton destruction of human life. In an August 2001 speech, Bush announced that he would support funding research on stem cell lines already created—"where the life and death decision has already been made"—but not on lines created by the further destruction of embryos. And because "[e]mbryonic stem cell research is at the leading edge of a series of moral hazards," Bush said, he would create the President's Council on Bioethics, to be led by Kass and with a mandate to "monitor stem cell research, to recommend appropriate guidelines and regulations, and to consider all of the medical and ethical ramifications of biomedical innovation." [17] As the council was appointed and prepared to begin meeting in early 2002, Kass received a great deal of media attention, especially due to his reputation for pessimism and concern about the moral implications of scientific progress with respect to health and life issues. Calling him "the president's philosopher," U.S. News and World Report noted that "he tends to dwell on the dark side of modern medicine. . . . Kass has tried to raise the public's consciousness of emerging technology's risks to values that humanity holds dear." [18] The Council from its inception was charged by Bush to consider these larger questions, well beyond the domain of stem cell research. The first specific task of the Council, according to the executive order creating it, was "to undertake fundamental inquiry into the human and moral significance of developments in biomedical and behavioral science and technology." [19]

The composition of the Council was also subject to controversy. Kass was accused of "stacking the deck" with philosophers, scientists, and public intellectuals likely to oppose "unfettered medical research in the area of stem cells, therapeutic cloning, and reproductive cloning. Given that fact, researchers had better worry a lot about what the Council is likely to recommend to the president." [20] Critics also charged that Kass eliminated those who disagreed with him, such as Elizabeth Blackburn and William May, and replacing them with opponents of cloning. [21] [22] Kass replied to these criticisms by saying that the Council was more intellectually diverse than prior bioethics commissions precisely because it included opponents of abortion. [22] (Previous commissions had "excluded representatives of the right to life movement." [23] ) Also, the council members Robert George, Francis Fukuyama and James Q. Wilson debated with stark disagreement their opposing points of view on the biological status of the human embryo and came to no agreed conclusions. [24] Since Bush had deliberately created the Council to debate and clarify the issues without necessarily reaching consensus, Kass said that he welcomed disagreement within the Council: "This council is easily the most intellectually and ethically diverse of the bioethics commissions to date. We have worked with mutual respect while not papering over our differences. No one who has attended any of our meetings or read the transcripts can believe that we do anything but serious and careful work, without regard to ideology, partisan politics or religious beliefs." [25]

The Council has been renewed by executive order every two years since 2001, and the subjects it considered ranged beyond the stem cell battles during which it was established. Kass sought throughout to develop a "richer" bioethics, attentive to larger human and philosophical questions at the root of bioethical dilemmas, and he lamented that the Council was pigeonholed: "The Council came into existence identified as the 'stem cell council,' and people on all sides of the embryo research debate seem to care more about the Council's views on this subject than about anything else. Not by our choice—and certainly not by mine—the Council was born smack in the middle of 'embryoville,' and it has never been able to leave this highly political field." [26] Despite the public's narrow conception of its work, during Kass's chairmanship, the Council produced five book-length reports, a white paper, and a humanistic reader on ten topics generally neglected in the bioethics literature. [27]

Kass described the Council's work as "public bioethics," rejecting previous approaches that favored government by self-appointed "experts"—scientific or bioethical—and presenting the issues in terms accessible to the broader public and its political representatives. He sought a "richer" inquiry that debates "ends as well as means," and the Council's reports addressed larger human questions, "not merely administrative or regulatory ones." He said that it presented all sides of ethical issues in order to create a more substantive moral discourse. "A proper bioethics must lead public reflection on the ways in which new biotechnologies may affect those things that matter most regarding how human lives are lived," Kass wrote. "This means beginning by reflecting upon the highest human goods and understanding the latest technological advances in this light." [26] Eschewing much of the language and theoretical framework of academic bioethics, [22] Kass drew on literary, philosophical, and theological sources to inform the Council's discussion. At the Council's first meeting, he led a discussion of "The Birth-Mark," a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. [18]

Kass stepped down as chairman of the Council in October 2005 and remained a member of the Council until 2007. [28] He returned to positions at the American Enterprise Institute and the University of Chicago.

Views on bioethics

Biotechnology and medical enhancement

While welcoming biotechnology for its therapeutic promise—to cure disease, relieve suffering, and to restore health and wholeness—Kass worries about its uses for enhancement (boosting capability beyond what is given naturally and even altering human nature). While biotechnology offers great promise for health care, it has applications for "many other ends, good ones and bad." Biotechnology can be employed to produce "better children, superior performance, ageless bodies, and happy souls." Kass argues that biotechnology may eventually be used as a substitute for virtue, hard work, study, or love in order to "fulfill our deepest human desires," but in the end lowering the reach of those desires only to those objects that can be realized technologically. [29] His worries about biotechnology stem from what he calls "the technological disposition," which transforms the meaning and character of human life by believing that "all aspects of life can be rationally mastered through technique." [30]

Stem cell research

Kass has been a consistent critic of embryo research, including embryonic stem cell research, because of its "exploitation" and "destruction" of nascent human life. Although he claims to be agnostic about the moral standing of an early human embryo, he worries about treating human life, at whatever stage, merely as a natural resource. "There is something deeply repugnant and fundamentally transgressive about such a utilitarian treatment of prospective human life," he writes. [31] But because he recognized the potential of such cells for medical research, he led the President's Council on Bioethics to examine alternative avenues of obtaining pluripotent stem cells: "Pluripotent cells might be obtainable from already dead (not just unwanted or doomed but actually dead) embryos, some of whose individual cells might nonetheless still be viable; from living embryos by nondestructive biopsy; from bioengineered, embryo-like artifacts; and from reprogrammed body cells, taken from children or adults, that are induced to return to the undifferentiated state of pluripotency. . . . We should be hopeful that a technological solution to our moral dilemma might soon be found and that this divisive piece of our recent political history will soon come to an end." [32]

In 2007, in two separate studies, research teams led by James Thomson and Shinya Yamanaka created induced pluripotent stem cells from adult cells, meaning that the destruction of embryos for stem cells might no longer be necessary. In 2009, the reprogramming technique was further improved, as skin cells were returned to pluripotency by the transfer of a few exogeneous genes and without the use of foreign viruses as vectors. [33] Robert P. George praised Kass as the driving intellectual force against embryo-killing and in favor of finding alternative methods of obtaining pluripotent stem cells: "All along, it was Dr. Kass who said that reprogramming methods would, if pursued vigorously, enable us to realize the full benefits of stem cell science while respecting human dignity." [34]

Human cloning

Kass supports a universal ban on the cloning of humans on the grounds that cloning is an affront to morality and human dignity. In a 1997 article in The New Republic entitled "The Wisdom of Repugnance," Kass suggests that we should respect the revulsion most people feel about cloning human beings, just as we respect their supposed revulsion at incest and cannibalism. "In crucial cases," he writes, "repugnance is the emotional expression of deep wisdom, beyond reason's power fully to articulate it." Kass writes that modern ethical discourse, which emphasizes autonomy, equity, and utility, fails to provide the moral guidance that the modern world demands:

Repugnance, here as elsewhere, revolts against the excesses of human willfulness, warning us not to transgress what is unspeakably profound. Indeed, in this age in which everything is held to be permissible so long as it is freely done, in which our given human nature no longer commands respect, in which our bodies are regarded as mere instruments of our autonomous rational wills, repugnance may be the only voice left that speaks up to defend the central core of our humanity. Shallow are the souls that have forgotten how to shudder.

A society that tolerates cloning, Kass writes, "has forgotten how to shudder [and] always rationalizes away the abominable. A society that allows cloning has, whether it knows it or not, tacitly said yes to converting procreation into manufacture and to treating our children as pure projects of our will." [31] [35]

In response to Kass, other ethicists have argued that reactions of repugnance or disgust are not a valid basis for banning cloning because such feelings are subjective, dictated by cultural norms, and change over time. [36] Fritz Allhoff of the American Medical Association Division of Bioethics contends that "racial integration once elicited the same sentiments of repugnance that Kass claims that cloning elicits now; surely public sentiment should not be taken as a moral guide." [36] Martha Nussbaum has advanced a broader argument against using feelings of disgust as a basis for policymaking, writing that "laws and social rules" should be based on "substantive harm, rather than on the symbolic relationship an object bears to our anxieties." [37]

In addition to opposing cloning on the grounds of repugnance, Kass has also argued that cloning constitutes an "unethical experiment upon the resulting child-to-be"; creates confusions of identity and individuality; "turns begetting into making"; and, by giving parents control over a child's genetic make-up, exacerbates the "dangerous" idea of parental control over children's lives and prospects. "One must never forget that these are human beings upon whom our eugenic or merely playful fantasies are to be enacted," he writes. [31] [35]

A concern for "the natural"

Although he appreciates that human beings are always modifying what is naturally given, Kass worries about the lack of standards for human life in a world in which human nature is treated as utterly malleable and in which the boundaries of human life are all eroded. Kass places "special value on the natural human cycle of birth, procreation and death" and views death as a "necessary and desirable end" and the human and human aspirations that are derived from it. He views human mortality as a blessing in disguise, and he has opposed deliberate efforts to increase maximum human life expectancy in pursuit of biological immortality. [38] Kass was an early critic of the widespread use of reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization, partly because he was concerned that their use obscures truths about the essence of human life and society that are embedded in the natural reproductive process. (He later endorsed the marital use of in vitro after Louise Brown was born in 1978. [39] [40] )

Kass sees human cloning as a natural progression from the decoupling of sex and procreation, begun with in vitro fertilization: "Cloning turns out to be the perfect embodiment of the ruling opinions of our new age. Thanks to the sexual revolution, we are able to deny in practice, and increasingly in thought, the inherent procreative teleology of sexuality itself. But, if sex has no intrinsic connection to generating babies, babies need have no necessary connection to sex. . . . For that new dispensation, the clone is the ideal emblem: the ultimate 'single-parent child.'" [35] As in his other writings, Kass emphasizes the connection of reproduction to marriage and family life: "No child conceived with the aid of assisted reproductive technologies should be denied the lineage and biological ties to two parents that all children born 'naturally' have. No child should have to say, 'An embryo was my father.'" [2]

Philosophical studies

For much of his career, Kass's scholarship moved away from the practical issues of bioethics to issues of human nature and human good, and nearly all of his teaching at Chicago has been about these topics. Yet despite his stated interest in "the natural," Kass does not hold to any traditional teaching of "natural law," and he does not derive any moral rules from nature. Rather, he sees human nature as offering, at most, intimations and "pointings" toward human flourishing and human fulfillment, but pointings in need of both cultural encouragement and cultural restraint if humans are to become the upright animal advertised in his special posture. [41] [42]

Biblical studies

In addition to his studies in natural philosophy and philosophical anthropology, Kass has in recent years been teaching and writing about the Hebrew Bible, especially the book of Genesis. Kass's interest in the Bible began with weekly invitational readings of Genesis that he and his wife, Amy, had organized for students while teaching at the University of Chicago. [43] In his 2009 Jefferson Lecture, Kass said that he found in the Bible "an account of human life that can more than hold its own with the anthropological and ethical teachings offered by the great poets and philosophers," with "teachings of righteousness, humaneness, and human dignity . . . that were undreamt of in my prior philosophizing." [44] Kass reads the text philosophically, not theologically, in the belief that this text, thoughtfully read, has much to teach everyone—believers and non-believers alike—about the human condition and how it may be improved. His full lengthy commentary on Genesis, based on his teaching of the text over twenty years, is addressed primarily to the "children of skeptics" (such as himself). He concludes:

Long dwelling with the book of Genesis, and ever marveling at its beauty, its profundity, and, above all, its power to illuminate and lift the soul, this exhilarated reader of Genesis stands before it on his intellectual knees, filled with awe and gratitude for a text that makes such insights possible. I dare to hope that, with my book as a companion, other wisdom-seeking readers may enjoy a similar experience.

Philosophical influences

Honors and awards

Kass was named the 2009 Jefferson Lecturer by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Jefferson Lecture is "the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual and public achievement in the humanities." [45] Kass's lecture, delivered at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 2009. was entitled "Looking for an Honest Man: Reflections of an Unlicensed Humanist". [44] In his lecture, he expressed the view that science has become separated from its humanistic origins and the humanities have lost their connection to metaphysical and theological concerns. [46]

In addition to his teaching awards from the University of Chicago, Kass also received the Harvard Centennial Medal and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Gerhard Niemeyer Award in 2003 and the inaugural Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in 2004. He has been given honorary degrees by the University of Dallas (1997), the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies (2001), Carthage College (2002), and Yeshiva University (2003). [12] Kass is a fellow of the Hastings Center.

Selected bibliography

Books

Articles and lectures


Family

In 2015 his wife Amy Kass died. [47]

He has two married daughters and four granddaughters; they reside in Chicago and Jerusalem.

See also

Related Research Articles

Human cloning

Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. The term is generally used to refer to artificial human cloning, which is the reproduction of human cells and tissue. It does not refer to the natural conception and delivery of identical twins. The possibility of human cloning has raised controversies. These ethical concerns have prompted several nations to pass laws regarding human cloning and its legality.

Somatic cell nuclear transfer

In genetics and developmental biology, somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a laboratory strategy for creating a viable embryo from a body cell and an egg cell. The technique consists of taking an enucleated oocyte and implanting a donor nucleus from a somatic (body) cell. It is used in both therapeutic and reproductive cloning. Dolly the Sheep became famous for being the first successful case of the reproductive cloning of a mammal. In January 2018, a team of scientists in Shanghai announced the successful cloning of two female crab-eating macaques from fetal nuclei. "Therapeutic cloning" refers to the potential use of SCNT in regenerative medicine; this approach has been championed as an answer to the many issues concerning embryonic stem cells (ESC) and the destruction of viable embryos for medical use, though questions remain on how homologous the two cell types truly are.

Dignity is the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically. It is of significance in morality, ethics, law and politics as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. The term may also be used to describe personal conduct, as in "behaving with dignity".

Neuroethics refers to two related fields of study: what the philosopher Adina Roskies has called the ethics of neuroscience, and the neuroscience of ethics. The ethics of neuroscience comprises the bulk of work in neuroethics. It concerns the ethical, legal and social impact of neuroscience, including the ways in which neurotechnology can be used to predict or alter human behavior and "the implications of our mechanistic understanding of brain function for society... integrating neuroscientific knowledge with ethical and social thought".

The Presidents Council on Bioethics advisory council to the US President

The President's Council on Bioethics (PCBE) was a group of individuals appointed by United States President George W. Bush to advise his administration on bioethics. Established on November 28, 2001, by Executive Order 13237, the Council was directed to "advise the President on bioethical issues that may emerge as a consequence of advances in biomedical science and technology". It succeeded and largely replaced the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which expired in 2001.

In the debate on the morality of human cloning, Christians take multiple positions. Since Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned on 5 July 1996, and the possibility of cloning humans became a reality, Christian leaders have been pressed to take an ethical stance on its morality. While many Christians tend to disagree with the practice, such as Roman Catholics and a majority of fundamentalist pastors, including Southern Baptists, the views taken by various other Christian denominations are diverse and often conflicting. It is hard to pinpoint any one, definite stance of the Christian religion, since there are so many Christian denominations and so few official statements from each of them concerning the morality of human cloning.

William B. Hurlbutt is a Consulting Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Stanford University Medical Center. Born in 1945 in St. Helena, California, he grew up in Bronxville, New York.

Gregory Stock biophysicist, best-selling author, biotech entrepreneur

Gregory Stock is a biophysicist, best-selling author, biotech entrepreneur, and the former director of the Program on Medicine, Technology and Society at UCLA’s School of Medicine. His interests lie in the scientific and evolutionary as well as ethical, social and political implications of today's revolutions in the life sciences and in information technology and computers.

The wisdom of repugnance, or the yuck factor, also known informally as "appeal to disgust", is the belief that an intuitive negative response to some thing, idea, or practice should be interpreted as evidence for the intrinsically harmful or evil character of that thing. Furthermore, it refers to the notion that wisdom may manifest itself in feelings of disgust towards anything which lacks goodness or wisdom, though the feelings or the reasoning of such 'wisdom' may not be immediately explicable through reason.

The stem cell controversy is the consideration of the ethics of research involving the development, use, and destruction of human embryos. Most commonly, this controversy focuses on embryonic stem cells. Not all stem cell research involves human embryos. For example, adult stem cells, amniotic stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells do not involve creating, using, or destroying human embryos, and thus are minimally, if at all, controversial. Many less controversial sources of acquiring stem cells include using cells from the umbilical cord, breast milk, and bone marrow, which are not pluripotent.

Julian Savulescu Australian philosopher

Julian Savulescu is an Australian philosopher and bioethicist. He is Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford, Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Monash University, and Head of the Melbourne–Oxford Stem Cell Collaboration, which is devoted to examining the ethical implications of cloning and embryonic stem cell research. He is a former editor and current boarder member of the Journal of Medical Ethics, which is ranked as the No.1 journal in bioethics worldwide by Google Scholar Metrics as of 2013. In addition to his background in applied ethics and philosophy, he also has a background in medicine and completed his MBBS (Hons) at Monash University.

Rosario Isasi is a health and human rights attorney, whose research and work focuses on the regulation of human genetic technologies.

Stem cell research policy varies significantly throughout the world. There are overlapping jurisdictions of international organizations, nations, and states or provinces. Some government policies determine what is allowed versus prohibited, whereas others outline what research can be publicly financed. Of course, all practices not prohibited are implicitly permitted. Some organizations have issued recommended guidelines for how stem cell research is to be conducted.

Bioconservatism is a stance of hesitancy and skepticism regarding radical technological advances, especially those that seek to modify or enhance the human condition. Bioconservatism is characterized by a belief that technological trends in today's society risk compromising human dignity, and by opposition to movements and technologies including transhumanism, human genetic modification, "strong" artificial intelligence, and the technological singularity. Many bioconservatives also oppose the use of technologies such as life extension and preimplantation genetic screening.

The Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future (IBHF) is an affiliate of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and is housed at IIT’s Chicago-Kent College of Law. The IBHF was founded in 2004 by Lori Andrews, J.D., and Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Ph.D., to discuss and analyze the ethical, legal, and social implications of biotechnologies.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is a UK-based independent charitable body, which examines and reports on bioethical issues raised by new advances in biological and medical research. Established in 1991, the Council is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. The Council has been described by the media as a 'leading ethics watchdog', which 'never shrinks from the unthinkable'.

Stem cell laws and policy in the United States have had a complicated legal and political history.

The laws and policies regarding stem cell research in the People's Republic of China are relatively relaxed in comparison to that of other nations. The reason for this is due to different traditional and cultural views in relation to that of the West.

Insoo Hyun is a Professor of Bioethics and Philosophy at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is known for his international collaboration and work in the area of stem cell ethics and other biotechnologies.

Jan Deckers teaches and researches bioethics at Newcastle University. His work revolves mainly around three topics: animal ethics, reproductive ethics and embryo research, and genetics.

References

  1. "Leon Kass," Encyclopædia Britannica , 2009.
  2. 1 2 Leon Kass, interviewed by Francis Wilkinson, Discover, February 2008.
  3. NOW with Bill Moyers. Transcript. Bill Moyers Talks with Leon Kass. 7.25.03 | PBS
  4. 1 2 3 4 Quoted in Harvey Flaumenhaft, "The Career of Leon Kass," Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy 20 (2003).
  5. 1 2 "Kass, Leon R.," Current Biography (August 2002).
  6. http://contemporarythinkers.org/leon-kass/biography/
  7. Mary Ruth Yoe, "Popping the Question: Is There Love at First Sight?" University of Chicago Magazine 92, no. 4 (April 2000).
  8. Kass, Amy A.; Leon R. Kass (2000). Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying. South Bend, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN   0-268-01960-6.
  9. Kass, Leon. "What So Proudly We Hail" . Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  10. Goldsborough, Bob. "Amy Kass, taught literature at University of Chicago, dies". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  11. 1 2 Kass, Leon. "Letter on the Civil Rights Movement". The Meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. What So Proudly We Hail. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  12. 1 2 3 Curriculum vitae, John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy, University of Chicago, 1999.
  13. http://conversationswithbillkristol.org/video/leon-kass/
  14. Joshua Lederberg, "Unpredictable Variety Still Rules Human Reproduction," Washington Post , September 30, 1967.
  15. National Research Council, Assessing Biomedical Technology: An Inquiry into the Nature of the Problem (Washington: National Academy of Science, 1975).
  16. The College of the University of Chicago, Courses and Programs of Study 2002–2004 .
  17. George W. Bush, Speech on stem cell research, August 9, 2001.
  18. 1 2 Nell Boyce, "The President's Philosopher," U.S. News and World Report, February 11, 2002.
  19. Executive Order no. 13,237 Archived 2005-11-23 at the Wayback Machine , "Creation of the President's Council on Bioethics," November 28, 2001.
  20. Ronald Bailey, "Tallying the New Bioethics Council," Reason Online, January 23, 2002.
  21. Timothy Noah, "Leon Kass, You Silly Ass! Please stop denying you tilted the bioethics panel," Slate , March 8, 2004.
  22. 1 2 3 Jeffrey Brainard, "A New Kind of Bioethics," Chronicle of Higher Education , May 21, 2004.
  23. Carl Mitcham, "In Qualified Praise of the Leon Kass Council on Bioethics," Techne 10, no. 1 (Fall 2006).
  24. Lawler, Peter (2010). Modern and American Dignity. 114 of 6428: Intercollegiate Studies Institute. ISBN   1-935191-89-6.
  25. Leon Kass, "We Don't Play Politics with Science," Washington Post , March 3, 2004.
  26. 1 2 Leon Kass, "Reflections on Public Bioethics: A View from the Trenches," Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 15, no. 3 (September 2005).
  27. See Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry (July 2002), Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness (October 2003), Monitoring Stem Cell Research (January 2004), Reproduction and Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies (March 2004), Alternative Sources of Pluripotent Stem Cells (May 2005), Taking Care: Ethical Caregiving in Our Aging Society (September 2005), and Being Human: Readings from the President's Council on Bioethics (December 2003). Available at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-07. Retrieved 2009-03-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link).
  28. Jen Glickel, "Kass Leaves Post as Bush's Bioethics Chair Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine ," Chicago Maroon, February 12, 2005.
  29. Leon R. Kass, Foreword to Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness (Washington: President's Council on Bioethics, 2003).
  30. Leon Kass, interviewed by Adam Wolfson, The American Enterprise, July 2006.
  31. 1 2 3 Leon R. Kass, "The Wisdom of Repugnance," The New Republic, June 2, 1997.
  32. Leon R. Kass, "A Way Forward on Stem Cells," Washington Post, July 12, 2005.
  33. Erika Check Hayden and Monya Baker, "Virus-Free Pluripotency for Human Cells," Nature 458, no. 19 (March 1, 2009).
  34. Ryan Anderson, "The End of the Stem-Cell Wars," The Weekly Standard, December 3, 2007.
  35. 1 2 3 Leon R. Kass and James Q. Wilson, The Ethics of Human Cloning Archived 2009-07-16 at the Wayback Machine (Washington: AEI Press, 1998).
  36. 1 2 Fritz Allhoff, Telomeres and the Ethics of Human Cloning (American Journal of Bioethics, 2004 Spring;4(2):W29-31).
  37. Martha Nussbaum, “Danger to human dignity: The revival of disgust and shame in the law,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 50(48): B6
  38. Kass, Leon (May 2001). "L'Chaim and Its Limits". First Things.
  39. Kass, Leon (Winter 1972). "Making Babies: The New Biology and the 'Old' Morality". The Public Interest.
  40. Kass, Leon (Winter 1979). "'Making Babies' Revisited". The Public Interest.
  41. Kass, Leon (1985). "chapter 10–13". Toward a More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs. New York: Free Press. ISBN   0-02-918340-5.
  42. Kass, Leon (1994). The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN   0-226-42568-1.
  43. http://conversationswithbillkristol.org/transcript/leon-kass-transcript/
  44. 1 2 Leon Kass, "Looking for an Honest Man: Reflections of an Unlicensed Humanist” Archived 2009-05-25 at the Wayback Machine , text of 2009 Jefferson lecture at NEH website (retrieved May 22, 2009).
  45. "Leon Kass, noted humanities scholar and bioethicist, to deliver the 2009 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities", NEH press release, March 23, 2009.
  46. Serena Golden, "Tough Love for the Humanities", Inside Higher Ed , May 22, 2009 (retrieved May 22, 2009).
  47. http://hudson.org/research/11535-amy-a-kass-1940-2015