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Who Count As Persons?: Human Identity and the Ethics of Killing (Moral Traditions & Moral Arguments.) [Paperback]

By John F. Kavanaugh (Author)
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Item description for Who Count As Persons?: Human Identity and the Ethics of Killing (Moral Traditions & Moral Arguments.) by John F. Kavanaugh...

Just what is a human being? Who counts? The answers to these questions are crucial when one is faced with the ethical issue of taking human life. In this affirmation of the intrinsic personal dignity and inviolability of every human individual, John Kavanaugh, S. J., denies that it can ever be moral to intentionally kill another.

Today in every corner of the world men and women are willing to kill others in the name of "realism" and under the guise of race, class, quality of life, sex, property, nationalism, security, or religion. We justify these killings by either excluding certain humans from our definition of personhood or by invoking a greater good or more pressing value.

Kavanaugh contends that neither alternative is acceptable. He formulates an ethics that opposes the intentional killing not only of medically "marginal" humans but also of depersonalized or criminalized enemies. Offering a philosophy of the person that embraces the undeveloped, the wounded, and the dying, he proposes ways to recover a personal ethical stance in a global society that increasingly devalues the individual.

Kavanaugh discusses the work of a range of philosophers, artists, and activists from Richard Rorty and Soren Kierkegaard to Albert Camus and Woody Allen, from Mother Teresa to Jack Kevorkian. His approach is in stark contrast to that of writer Peter Singer and others who believe that not all human life has intrinsic moral worth. It will challenge philosophers, students of ethics, and anyone concerned about the depersonalization of contemporary life.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Who Count As Persons?: Human Identity and the Ethics of Killing (Moral Traditions & Moral Arguments.) by John F. Kavanaugh has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Univ PR Books for Public Libry - 01/01/2002 page 5
  • Commonweal - 03/22/2002 page 23
  • Reference and Research Bk News - 11/01/2001 page 10

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Georgetown University Press
Pages   233
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2002
Publisher   Georgetown University Press
Age  22
Series  Moral Traditions and Moral Arguments  
ISBN  0878408371  
ISBN13  9780878408375  

Availability  65 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2017 01:43.
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More About John F. Kavanaugh

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John F. Kavanaugh, SJ, a professor of philosophy at Saint Louis University, is author of Following Christ in a Consumer Society and The Word Embodied. He writes the "Ethics Notebook" column for the publication America.

John F. Kavanaugh has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Moral Traditions and Moral Arguments (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Ethics & Morality
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious

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Reviews - What do customers think about Who Count As Persons?: Human Identity and the Ethics of Killing (Moral Traditions & Moral Arguments.)?

Worth and Personhood  Nov 23, 2003
Kavanaugh is a fine writer and thinker who, regrettably, begins from the premise that it is always morally wrong to intentionally kill another. Without exception. He even anticipates an "attack on the infrastructure of New York" by terrorists and argues that it would be wrong to kill them in order to protect innocent citizens. There is more than a little of false moral symmetry here, such as, "After all, would we allow an Iraqi-controlled United Nations to inspect our munitions and bases?" Yet Who Count as Persons? is much more than a pacifist tract. It is a convincing argument for the intrinsic value of every human life and for the idea of the dignity of the person, severely marred by pacifist abstraction from the frequently sad duties of protecting lives. From a First THings REview
Necessary and nourishing  Mar 16, 2001
This compact volume is a substantial contribution to our understanding of our common humanity, shared with all persons, especially those on the margins "of society, of economy, of health," and, I might add, of attention. John Kavanaugh has forged a consistent ethic of life that calls all killing into question, out of respect, reverence rather, for our wounded humanity, whether we are unborn, despairing, calculating of "worth," or legally condemned to death. Particularly noteworthy is Kavanaugh's analysis of our soulless consumer mentality that has degraded our humanity to a mere commodity manipulated by market forces. The price is outrageous (Georgetown prefers to supplement basketball rather than philosophy, I guess!), but you will certainly want to share this good news with your fellow human persons.

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