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Admiring Dan’s Creation

Abstract: Dan Callahan never tired of probing the fundamental ethical question that Socrates asked, “How should we live?” The investigation animated him. He asked, Can we, for a moment, set aside our preoccupation with better health and a longer life and think together about what we want those things for? Can we explore what a good life consists in?

It turned out there was no better alibi for asking that fundamental question than taking up the seemingly more manageable ones that were arising in the context of emerging medicine, science, and technology. When one asked about who should be born, or how we should die, or how we should prioritize investments in the myriad institutions that help to promote human well-being, the question concerning what we mean by a good life was always and palpably present.

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