The leading center for scholarly reflection within the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition
Center Director O. Carter Snead was interviewed in the Wall Street Journal by editorial page writer Barton Swaim on June 18, 2021, discussing implications of his book What It Means to be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics.
“It seems to me,” Mr. Snead says, “that elite ‘opinion makers’ and ‘thought leaders’ ”—he gestures with air quotes—“who only need a laptop and high-speed internet to do their jobs have forgotten the vast number of their fellow citizens whose work actually requires in-person, face-to-face contact. ... That, I think, reflects a failure to remember one’s neighbor, or anyway the neighbor who isn’t part of”—air quotes again—“the ‘knowledge economy.’ That’s bad enough. But the notion that one can make up for the loss merely by paying people to stay home is evidence we’ve forgotten that work itself is essential to human flourishing.”
Read the whole interview here.
The de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture is pleased to invite abstract submissions for its 21st annual Fall Conference, “I Have Called You by Name: Human Dignity in a Secular World,” November 11–13, 2021, in person at the University of Notre Dame.
What do we mean by “human dignity”? What are its foundations, contours, and entailments? Is a unified understanding of human dignity possible in a fragmented secular culture? Is a just society possible without it? In the interdisciplinary spirit of the Fall Conference, the de Nicola Center welcomes abstracts that engage the theme of human dignity from a variety of points of departure, including theology, philosophy, political theory, law, history, economics, and the social sciences, as well as the natural sciences, literature, and the arts.
Abstracts are due by July 30. For more information and to submit an abstract, visit the 2021 Fall Conference homepage here.
dCEC director O. Carter Snead joined leading pro-life Catholic scholars on a statement regarding the moral acceptability of receiving the currently-available COVID-19 vaccines. The statement reads, in part, "Foremost among the questions for those of us who are committed to defending the intrinsic equal dignity of all human beings from conception to natural death are these: in accepting any of the vaccines on offer, is one in any way endorsing or contributing to the practice of abortion, or is one in any way showing disrespect for the remains of an unborn human being? As to the vaccines currently or soon available in the United States, we agree with Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, that the answer is no. While there is a technical causal linkage between each of the current vaccines and prior abortions of human persons, we are all agreed, that connection does not mean that vaccine use contributes to the evil of abortion or shows disrespect for the remains of unborn human beings. Accordingly, Catholics, and indeed, all persons of good will who embrace a culture of life for the whole human family, born and unborn, can use these vaccines without fear of moral culpability."
The full statement is available here.
The de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture has released a video entitled "March On, Notre Dame!" that highlights the University's commitment to building a culture of life, both on-campus and in the wider public square. Released to coincide with the virtual March for Life on January 29, the video and transcript are available now at ethicscenter.nd.edu/MarchOnND.
"Though we sorely miss the opportunity to gather for the March for Life in Washington this year, we know that Notre Dame's commitment to building a culture of life and civilization of love is not confined to a single event but endures throughout the year," said O. Carter Snead, director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture. "We were glad to have this opportunity to highlight the university’s efforts on behalf of the unborn child, her mother, her family, and all neighbors in need through concrete, on-campus initiatives, as well as through prayer and witness in the public square."
The video and transcript are available for viewing here.
"Mother Teresa said that 'if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.' That’s all too true of America today. A global pandemic has upended our lives. Racial unrest convulses our cities. And our politics have devolved into blood sport, as toxic as it is tribal," wrote de Nicola Center Director O. Carter Snead in an op-ed published in the New York Post on October 12.
"We have indeed forgotten who we are and what we owe to one another. We desperately need to remember. To do that, we need a better anthropology."
Professor O. Carter Snead’s new book, What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics is now available from Harvard University Press.
Snead is a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School and director of the University of Notre Dame’s de Nicola Center for Ethics & Culture. He is one of the world’s leading experts on public bioethics — the governance of science, medicine, and biotechnology in the name of ethical goods.
What It Means to Be Human promises to propose “a vision of human identity and flourishing that supports those who are profoundly vulnerable and dependent — children, the disabled, and the elderly” and to analyze how that vision would affect three of the most complex issues in bioethics: abortion, assisted reproductive technology, and end-of-life decisions.
After a towering 25-year career in law teaching and legal scholarship at Notre Dame Law School, Biolchini Family Professor of Law John M. Finnis has decided to retire. Finnis will continue to serve as Permanent Senior Distinguished Research Fellow of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture.
An internationally recognized scholar and philosopher, Finnis came to Notre Dame in 1995 from Oxford University, where he was a chaired professor of law and legal philosophy and a member of the philosophy subfaculty. At Notre Dame Law School, he is revered as much for his generous spirit as for his wide-ranging and groundbreaking work.
dCEC Director (and Notre Dame Law Professor) Carter Snead said, “John has been incredibly generous with the de Nicola Center, regularly speaking at our events, mentoring our undergraduate, graduate and law student Sorin Fellows, and providing sage advice. I feel personally blessed by his friendship and mentorship during my time at Notre Dame. We will miss having John over each semester for dinner in our home and pouring his favorite Australian wines!”
Support the de Nicola Center's Mission
All of our work at the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture is aimed at one goal: to share the richness of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition through teaching, research, and dialogue, at the highest level and across a range of disciplines. In so doing, we enrich Notre Dame’s distinctive intellectual ecology—and we bring the university’s voice into the academic and public conversations concerning the most vital and complex matters of ethics, literature, art, music, social sciences, philosophy, theology, history, political theory, applied and theoretical science, public policy, and law. For more information on how to support the work of the de Nicola Center, visit our support page.
Ethics and Culture Cast
Our podcast features lively conversations with fellows, scholars, and friends of the de Nicola Center. Episodes released every other Thursday during the academic year. Suggestions and feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.