Sunday, November 04, 2007

The recent paper delivered by Peter J. Colosi on Pope John Paul II vs. Peter Singer at the conference of Catholic Social Scientists has a foonote I found very quotable. Singer's decision to supply his ailing mother with aides, rather than kill her, completely contradicted his philosophical beliefs and his work in ethics. A footnote in Colosi's paper quotes Peter Berkowitz in the New Republic Jan. 10, 2000 :

"The ethicist's innocence, at this late date in his career, of the most elemental features of his subject matter boggles the mind. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more stunning rebuke to the well-heeled and well-ensconced academic discipline of practical ethics than that its most controversial and influential star, at the peak of his discipline, after an Oxford education, after twenty-five years as a university professor, and after the publication of thousands of pages laying down clear-cut rules on life-and-death issues, should reveal, only as the result of a reporter's prodding, and only in the battle with his own elderly mother's suffering, that he has just begun to appreciate that the moral life is complex."

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