Leon Kass

(Leon Richard Kass)

Leon Kass
Leon Kass
  • Born: February 12, 1939
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Educator









Leon Richard Kass is an American physician, scientist, educator, and public intellectual, best known as proponent of liberal education via the "Great Books," as an opponent of human cloning, life extension and euthanasia, as a critic of certain areas of technological progress and embryo research, and for his controversial tenure as chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005. Although Kass is often referred to as a bioethicist, he eschews the term and refers to himself as "an old-fashioned humanist. A humanist is concerned broadly with all aspects of human life, not just the ethical."

Quotes About
Author Quote
Quote Topics Cited
All parties to the human embryo debate have something vital to defend. Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning
Everything depends on whether the technological disposition is allowed to proceed to its self-augmenting limits, or whether it can be restricted and brought under intellectual, spiritual, moral, and political rule. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I have dreams about embryos. A little embryo says to me, ‘Leon, what are you going to do for me today.’ Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning
If I have written too polemically, it is only because of the passionate concern that we consider because it is too late whether we truly know what we are doing. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
There are lots of things that science will enable us to do that we shouldn’t do. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
This [human cloning] is an unethical human experiment on the child to be. It is a major step in the conversion of procreation to manufacture. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Almost everybody is enthusiastic about the promise of biotechnology to cure disease and to relieve suffering.
An enormous amount of direct advertising from pharmaceutical companies are offering a kind of instantaneous solution to problems.
As bad as it might be to destroy a creature made in God's image, it might be very much worse to be creating them after images of one's own. Religion & God
Biology, meaning the science of all life, is a late notion. Life ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Cloning looks like a degrading of parenthood and a perversion of the right relation between parents and children.
Cloning represents a very clear, powerful, and immediate example in which we are in danger of turning procreation into manufacture.
Even if certain rogue countries do things we wish nobody did, it doesn't necessarily mean that their foolishness should justify our following suit.
Genetics is crude, but neuroscience goes directly to work on the brain, and the mind follows. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I don't believe that efforts to prohibit only so-called reproductive cloning can be successful.
I don't like being forced to reduce my thoughts to sound bites.
I have nothing against respecting people who lived before, but we have no responsibility toward them. Respect
If one is seriously interested in preventing reproductive cloning, one must stop the process before it starts.
If you have easy self-contentment, you might have a very, very cheap source of happiness. Happiness & Unhappiness
In cloning, in contrast, reproduction is asexual - the cloned child is the product not of two but of one.
In the case of abortion, one pits the life of the fetus against the interests of the pregnant woman. Life
Is it possible to covet a much longer life for one's self and be as devoted to the well-being of the next generation? It's a long argument. Life
It seems to me that a kind of thinking which is not technocratic has an opportunity for a renaissance in this country.
It's a short step from the belief that every child should be wanted to the belief that a child exists to satisfy our wants.
It's very hard to make arguments about the effects of cloning on family relations if family relations are in tatters. Families, Children & Parenting
I've been opposed to human cloning from the very beginning.
Limits have to be set on how far one can simply use the... cleverness that we have to make changes.
Many other countries have already banned human cloning, and there are efforts at the UN to make such a ban universal.
Many people recognize that technology often comes with unintended and undesirable side effects. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
My job is to provide the president with the richest possible consideration, so that he knows what is at stake in whatever decision he makes.
Nobody knew in advance that in vitro fertilization would be, by and large, safe.
Once you put human life in human hands, you have started on a slippery slope that knows no boundaries. Life
One could look over the past century and ask oneself, has the increased longevity been good, bad or indifferent?
One should proceed with caution. We may simply not be wise enough to do some of the kinds of engineering things that people are talking about doing.
Our only responsibility is to live our own life and take care of our own children. Life
Perhaps you could sympathize with those who seek to replace a dead child with a copy, or to copy a parent or a relative or even a celebrity.
Sexuality itself means mortality - equally for both man and woman.
Technological innovation is indeed important to economic growth and the enhancement of human possibilities.
The abortion controversy is important for what it says about our stance toward procreation and children altogether.
The benefits of biomedical progress are obvious, clear, and powerful. The hazards are much less well appreciated.
The human animal has evolved as a preeminently social animal.
The neuroscience area - which is absolutely in its infancy - is much more important than genetics.
The so-called right to reproduce is not an unlimited right.
The technical is not just the machinery. The technical is a disposition to life. Life
The technological way of thinking has infected even ethics, which is supposed to be thinking about the good.
There is a lot of hype and fear about this much-talked-about prospect of designer babies.
There were certain questions about the foundations of morals that advances in science all threaten to make more complicated. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
There's an ancient tension between wanting to savor the world as it is and wanting to improve on the world as given.
We are enmeshed in a lineage that came from somewhere and is going to make way for the next generation.
We are somehow natured, not just to reproduce, but for sociality and even for culture.
We know next to nothing of what we're going to know in 20 or 50 years.
We may simply not be wise enough to do some of the kinds of engineering things that people are talking about doing.
We owe our existence to our parents, but we actually didn't have a choice.
We should never rush into folly just because other nations are practicing it.
What does it mean to be an individual? What does it mean to flourish?