Monday, September 28, 2009

On Humanity and Humeanism

Christianity claims that the essence of humanity that separates all mankind from animals stems from the doctrine of the Imago Dei. Namely, that man was made in the Image of God (c.f. Genesis 1:26), and therefore, a supremacy and distinction. This doctrine has many corporate implications. Namely, murder is wrong in that man is created in the Image of God (Genesis 9:6) and that slandering another human is wrong in that they are made int he image of God (James 3:8f).

From a more Aristotelian standpoint, man is unique in that they have reason. From a Thomistic (a far more Christan) reinterpretation of Aristotle, man has reason because he has the Image of God. It seems, however, that David Hume argues from a different standpoint concerning the sentiments of humanity (9.2) and also that there is a natural "infused benevolence". Namely, corporate benevolence is
a defining factor of humanity. I disagree with him. I am not Hobbesean. I am Pauline. Man is made in the image of God. And what makes us fallen is sin and what makes us (fully) Human is Christ. But is humanity defined by infused benevolence?

What is more interesting is Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister of Poland, has made a similar assertion. Namely, the humanity of the individuality would ensure a humane punishment. But, in the case of pedophilia, the perpetrator is inhumane. As a result, according to Tusk, the punishment fits the crime -it's inhumane. Hume states in his
Enquiry Concerning the Principle of Morals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005):

"I may be esteemed, perhaps, a superfluous task to prove, that the benevolent or softer affections are estimable; and wherever they appear, engage the approbation, and good-will of mankind. The epithets sociable, good-natured, humane, merciful, grateful, friendly, generous, beneficent, or their equivalents, are known in all languages, and universally express the highest merit, which human nature is capable of attaining (2.1.1).

[And] it will be suffice to remark, (what will readily, I believe, be allowed) that in qualities are more entitled to the general good-will and approbation of mankind, than beneficnence and humanity, friendship and gratitude, natural affection and public spirit, or whatever proceeds from a tender sympathy with others, and a generous concern for our kind and species. These, wherever they appear, seem to transfuse themselves, in a manner, into each beholder, and to call forth, in their own behalf, the same favourable and affectionate sentiments, which they exert on all around (2.1.5).

[There is a frequent satisfaction] of seeing knaves, with all their pretended cunning and abilities, betrayed by their own maxims; and while they purpose to cheat with moderation and secrecy, a tempting incident occurs, nature is frail, and they give into the snare; whence they can never extricate themselves, without a total loss of reputation, and the forfeiture of all future trust and confident with mankind (9.2.24).

In terms of Humanity, it seems either Hume is right or, perhaps, the Prime Minister of Poland (Donald Tusk) is Humean.

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland on Friday approved a law making chemical castration mandatory for pedophiles in some cases, sparking criticism from human rights groups. Under the law, sponsored by Poland's center-right government, pedophiles convicted of raping children under the age of 15 years or a close relative would have to undergo chemical therapy on their release from prison. "The purpose of this action is to improve the mental health of the convict, to lower his libido and thereby to reduce the risk of another crime being committed by the same person," the government said in a statement.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk said late last year he wanted obligatory castration for pedophiles, whom he branded 'degenerates'. Tusk said he did not believe "one can use the term 'human' for such individuals, such creatures."Prime Minister Donald Tusk said late last year he wanted obligatory castration for pedophiles, whom he branded 'degenerates'. Tusk said he did not believe "one can use the term 'human' for such individuals, such creatures." "Therefore I don't think protection of human rights should refer to these kind of events," Tusk also said. His remarks drew criticism from human rights groups but he never retracted them.

- Baczynska, Gabriela. "
Poland Okays Forcible Castration for Pedophiles" from Reuters, September 25, 2009.

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