How does biotechnology touch on human destiny? What are its promises and challenges? In search for a response, the present volume turns to the thought of Hans Jonas, one of the pioneers and founding fathers of bioethics. The continued relevance of his ideas is exemplified by the way Jurgen Habermas applies them to the current debate. The chief promise of biotechnology is to increase our freedom by overcoming the limits of the human condition. The main risk of biotechnology, as both Jonas and Habermas see it, is to diminish or outright abolish our capacity for responsibility and morality. It is argued that the greater freedom is not simply freedom from constraints but freedom for our destiny: the freedom to be the benevolent, responsible, and spontaneous authors of our lives, capable of communion and love. The touchstone for evaluating any biotechnological procedure has to be this greater freedom.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"It is rare to encounter a book engaging central moral questions that moves with such facility between philosophical and linguistic traditions as Kampowski's. By his uncommonly deep engagement with contemporary and recent thought, in particular Habermas and the unappreciated contributions of Hans Jonas, Kampowski has composed a remarkably vibrant and meaningful account of human nature that offers our relationality--our familialness--as a corrective to an unmeasured submission of the human to biotechnological promise." --Joseph E. Capizzi, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Catholic University of America
"A Greater Freedom is an excellent and timely introduction to the thought of two eminent philosophers and their work on biophilosophy, bioethics, and biotechnology: Hans Jonas and Jurgen Habermas. Stephan Kampowski enters into an astute dialogue enriched by other important interlocutors (Spaemann, Arendt, Kass) and is deeply guided by the theology of love. A most instructive and rewarding reading for those who want to grasp the boon and bane of biotechnology." --Reinhard Hutter, Professor of Theology, Duke University Divinity School
"A Greater Freedom is essential reading for all those who recognize technology can insidiously shape and form us. This book is particularly important for those who seek a mature environmental ethic. Kampowski's reading of Jonas teaches us that living organisms are never 'mere matter,' and provides a deep philosophical basis for recognizing the self-determining nature of the many sentient (and intelligent) creatures who share the planet with us human beings." --John Berkman, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Regis College
Stephan Kampowski Stanley Hauerwas
Stephan Kampowski is Associate Professor of Philosophical Anthropology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome. He is the author of Arendt, Augustine, and the New Beginning: The Action Theory and Moral Thought of Hannah Arendt in the Light of Her Dissertation on St. Augustine (2008).