STUDENT VOICES | CHYNN PRIZE 3rd PLACE WINNER
By: Brendan Dagher
Everyday we struggle to resolve how to treat those who wrong us or cause us pain. How do we punish those who steal from us? Who determines how we are fully compensated for the pain others inflict on us? We demand justice, or a system of fairness that safeguards our dignity as humans. Our personal morals feed into this system of fairness, often making justice a complex ethical issue.
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Felix Gonzales Torres, Untitled (1991).
By: Robert Schmaltz
“Act so that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life…”
~ Hans Jonas (1984)
Human dignity refers to a kind of value that is difficult to distinguish without first recognizing something unique to the embodied human, the capacity to not only sustain life but radically proliferate a state of wellbeing and the capacity to absolutely annihilate. Humans can improve upon the excellences of physical conditions almost ceaselessly, tenderly care for the most fragile of conditions, and we can break bodies beyond comprehension. Why has some skepticism emerged from comparing the value of dignity to the function of autonomy? I uphold the view that for autonomy to have any worth, which it does, it must be preceded by the recognizable value of dignity. Ultimately, the objective value of human dignity is held in the practice of living and sustaining embodied lives.
Book Review: The Most Good You Can Do by Peter Singer (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015). ISBN 978-0-300-18027-5.
Reviewed by Michael S. Dauber
Peter Singer’s new book The Most Good You Can Do is the latest installment in a series of works dedicated to advancing altruism as a way of life. The book expands directly on Singer’s work in The Life You Can Save (2010), a best-selling text that argued that our obligation to help the poor overseas is just as strong as the obligation to save a drowning child one comes across in a river: if one can easily help, one is required to, and distance and nationality are not excuses to withhold aid.