ON-Lion Letter
Appeals to "human dignity" are at the core of many of the most-contentious social and political issues of our time.  But these appeals suggest different and at times even contradictory ways of understanding the term.  Is dignity something we all share equally and therefore the reason we all ought to be treated as equals?  Or is dignity what distinguishes some greater and more admirable human beings from the rest?  What notion of human dignity should inform our private judgments and our public life?

In New Atlantis Books' new Neither Beast Nor God:  The Dignity of the Human Person, noted theologian Gilbert Meilaender elaborates the philosophical, social, theological, and political implications of the question of dignity, and suggests a path through the thicket.  A prominent voice in America's bioethics debates, Meilaender traces the ways in which notions of dignity shape societies, families, and individual lives.  He incisively cuts through some of the common confusions that cloud our thinking on key moral and ethical questions.

Meilaender is the Richard & Phyllis Duesenberg Professor of Christian Ethics at Valparaiso University.  He was a member of The President's Council on Bioethics and is a fellow of The Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank.

The dignity of humanity and the dignity of the person, he argues in Neither Beast Nor God, are distinct but deeply connected -- and only by grasping them both can we find our way to a meaningful understanding of the human condition.

New Atlantis Books is an imprint of Encounter Books, which is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.  The New Atlantis journal is published by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which is also supported by the Bradley Foundation.
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