Suffering, Death, and the Technological Imperative

Suffering, Death, and the Technological Imperative

JPI 873
3 Credits

Strikingly, Pope Benedict’s brief letter, “On the Urgent Task of Educating Young People” (2008), called for teaching young people to suffer well, for “the capacity for loving corresponds to the capacity for suffering and for suffering together.” In a similar vein, social critics like Ivan Illich have expressed concern that the art of suffering, and likewise the art of facing death, are atrophying as our prospects for medical and technological ameliorations of particular maladies seem to increase. Drawing on the work of Pope John Paul II, Illich, Spaemann, Granados, and others, this course examines the fundamental human experiences of suffering and death in historical and theological-anthropological contexts, in view of the increasing role of technology in medicine and in society.

Selected Texts


Lesley Rice portrait

Lesley Rice

Assistant Professor of Bioethics

Dr. Rice received her doctorate in theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute with a dissertation on contemporary Catholic thought concerning biotechnology and the beginning of life. Her research concerns the history and philosophy of biology, the character of biological knowing, and the cultural and anthropological significance of biotechnologies.

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