Home WakeSpace Scholarship › Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Rhetorically Re(de)fining Dignity: Leon Kass and the American Jeremiad Against Human Genetic Enhancement

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Item Files

Item Details

abstract
The ever-expanding science of human genetic enhancement technologies raises a host of difficult new ethical questions. Tasked with guiding America through these bioethical complexities, Leon Kass was appointed by former president George W. Bush and served as the chair of the President's Council on Bioethics until 2005. This thesis utilizes the Performative Traditions method to chart the idioms, voices, and argumentative patterns of Leon Kass in the bioethics debate. Viewing dignity as an idiom reveals the inherent rhetorical nature of an ambiguous cultural grammar used to attempt signification of something essentially human. Employing the rhetoric of the American jeremiad, Kass makes affective appeals with doomsday fear tactics, American traditions, and a religious argumentative structure. The pressing ethical concerns with biotechnology demand new solutions to questions humans have not been forced to grapple with before. We are finally capable of rupturing what it means to be human. Given Kass's imposing rhetorical limits on bioethical decision-making we should be concerned that his rhetoric constrains individual thought and binds his audience to cultural traditions incapable of providing good guidance in an increasingly complex bioethical discussion.
subject
Bioethics
Dignity
Jeremiad
Kass
Rhetoric
Tradition
contributor
Gramzinski, Logan P. (author)
Hyde, Michael J (committee chair)
Atchison, Robert J (committee member)
Louden, Allan (committee member)
date
2013-06-06T21:19:40Z (accessioned)
2014-06-06T08:30:09Z (available)
2013 (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
embargo
2014-06-06 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/38581 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Rhetorically Re(de)fining Dignity: Leon Kass and the American Jeremiad Against Human Genetic Enhancement
type
Thesis

Usage Statistics