quote for today

Brad, thank you for sending this position paper to me. I've enjoyed chewing over it for the last week or so. This paragraph seems like one of the most significant parts to the paper--something that should be really considered in more debates in philosophy and science and not just left to the politicians to decide. "In large measure, to affirm the existence and importance of moral truth is to confirm a particular understanding of the human person. Indeed, regarding many cultural issues today, from doctor-assisted suicide to cloning to divorce, it may increasingly be our answer to this upstream question--what is a person?--that ultimately guides our downstream conclusions. For this reason, defining the human person may be where America's civil society debate is ultimately headed. "According to many people...we humans, at least in the U.S., are autonomous units of desires, rights, and legitimate values of our own choosing. We are self-originating sources of valid claims, essentially unencumbered, self-owning, and auto-teleological. For short, call it a philosophy of expressive individualism, or a belief in the sovereignty of the self--a kind of modern democratic equivalent of the old idea of the divine right of kings. "We view this understanding of the human person as fundamentally flawed. We understand human beings as free, reasonable, and therefore responsible beings with a basic drive to question in order to know.... For this reason, what we value and love is intelligible and therefore public. What is reasonable transcends our purely private imaginings; it is something in which all persons have the potential to share. Our capacity for reasonable choosing and loving is what allows us to participate in a shared moral life, an order common to us all. "For these reasons, we understand humans as intrinsically social beings, not autonomous creatures who are the source of their own meaning and perfection. We humans only live in communities, through which we are talked into talking and loved into loving. Only through such connectedness can we approach authentic self-realization. "From this perspective, the basic subject of society is the human person, and the basic purpose of government--and all other institutions--is to help foster the conditions for human flourishing. In turn, the essential conditions for human flourishing are the elements of what we are calling the democratic civil society, anchored in moral truth." --Council on Civil Society, Institute for American Values. "A Call to Civil Society: Why democracy needs moral truths" 1998. pp. 16.


Post a Comment

<< Home