Monday, December 17, 2012


Just joined Goodreads to post a little review in support of one of my favorite novels, Richard Powers' Generosity: An Enhancement (Picador, 2010). It's the last thing we'll read in Bioethics, in April.
I was already a Powers fan, when "Generosity" came along just in time for my "Future of Life" philosophy class (Gen1, Gen2). It served our purposes well there, and I'm going to try it next semester in Bioethics. And then in Philosophy of Happiness. 

Those who like the more cerebral Powers but think this is comparatively conventional or mainstream may be missing levels of complexity that present themselves on second and third reading. My present focus, pedagogically, is on the crucial bioethical choices we'll be making in the near future that promise great or terrible consequences for what the Aussie humanist calls the future of "human nature." Powers does a great job of setting those problems & questions in motion, leaving us with a story still to be written. I'd love to see his sequel, and am even more curious to anticipate ours.

“But this is when the story is at its most desperate: when techne and sophia are still kin, when the distant climax is still ambiguous, the outcome a dead heat between salvation and ruin.”
NOTE to Bioethics students: Amazon has the paper edition for $6 & the e-book for $10. There's also a terrific audio version at

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