Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Abortion and Human Dignity

The Catholic Church argues that abortion is morally wrong because “the one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life.” (Pope John Paul II, 2003) The position of the Church is clear. Human life begins from the very moment of conception. This means that "no period from the moment of conception and along the path of embryonic and fetal development can be drawn to merit a moral justification for abortion on the basis of the right to privacy" or freedom of choice of the mother, "unless the life of the mother is in danger."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rights and Animal Welfare

Some people have very bad habits. For instance, pigs are transported in decrepit trailers or trucks, their bodies cut with blades to identify them. Chickens are grown at a fast rate so that they can be consumed in 32 days, many of them dying due to the difficult conditions in poultry farms. And of course, some people slaughter dogs and torture them before they are finally served in the dining table. So we ask – Do nonhuman animals possess rights? Do they deserve respect for life? While they do not have the moral rights and legal entitlements that humans are given, is there a basis for suggesting that they should not be abused? How do we morally evaluate the status of animals?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Positive and Negative Democracy: An Essay on Human Freedom

(Ateneo Jubilee Lecture Series, Ateneo de Davao University, 2009)

Starvation, says 1998 Nobel Laureate for Economics Amartya Sen, “is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat”, not the fact of “there being not enough food to eat” . Consequently, he says that poverty is not the case of people’s “lack of income”, but rather, is “a matter of capabilities deprivation” . Income and other social primary goods are only suggestive of what people have or do not have – not of who they really are or of what they are capable of doing. Income, therefore, should not be suggestive of the kind of life a person is to live.