Friday, April 24, 2009

Embryo: A Defense of Human Life

Philosopher and jurisprudential scholar Francis Beckwith's Defending Life is the best book I've read re. the personhood of the conceptus. And, if you want a good read on the logical nonsense of philosophical relativism, Beckwith's book is for you.

University of S. Carolina philosopher Robert George has written Embryo: A Defense of Human Life. Beckwith gives it a review on Beckwith writes:

"This book, authored by two of my favorite philosophers, is perhaps the most sophisticated and clearly written defense of embryonic personhood that has come out since the onset of the biotech revolution.

George and Tollefsen are conversant with the scientific issues as well as the deep philosophical questions of nature and personhood that percolate beneath the surface. They are also well-versed in the arguments of those with whom the disagree. One of their adversaries, Lee Silver, a colleague of George's, is singled out for special treatment. What makes this analysis particularly enlightening is how it exposes how little care Silver takes in crafting his moral and metaphysical arguments. But Silver is not alone. This sort of philosophical negligence is symptomatic of an academic culture that churns out wonderfully smart technicians, like Silver, who have floated through their professional lives blissfully unaware of the cluster of moral and metaphysical beliefs they take for granted and make their projects possible, but for which their scientism can provide no grounding.

George and Tollefsen also critique Cartesian dualism as well as philosophical materialism, arguing for a Thomistic hylomorphism as the best account of the human person.

This is a wonderful book that should be in the library of any one who is serious about bioethics and the future of what it means to be human."

---Francis J. Beckwith, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, Baylor University. author of Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007)