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Rethinking the Human Person

Moral Landscape and Ethical Literacy

Nahal Jafroudi

Recent developments in the natural and social sciences have brought great benefits to humanity, both in terms of our material wellbeing and our intellectual and conceptual capacities. Yet, despite a broad ethical consensus and highly developed innate faculties of reason and conscience, there seems to be a significant discrepancy between how we ought to behave and how we actually behave, leading to a disregard for the dignity of human persons across the globe. This book suggests that the problem arises from various misunderstandings of the nature of the self and that the solution could lie in adopting a holistic concept of the human person within the context of a carefully cultivated ethical literacy. It argues that the ideas of the Iranian philosopher Ostad Elahi (1895–1974) provide a powerful and compelling alternative to the dominant post-Enlightenment understanding of selfhood, education and morality.

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Appendix 1


Constants of Nature Fine-tuned for the Production of Life

There are many such constants in the universe that have the exact properties which enable the existence of life and the best known of these constants specify the strength of the four forces of nature: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, the electromagnetic force, and gravity. Since, the simplicity of the very early universe only produces the two simplest elements, hydrogen and helium, whose chemistry alone is unable to provide the basis for life, which it in itself requires more than twenty further elements, above all carbon, it is therefore the strong nuclear and electromagnetic forces that are responsible for the unusually efficient production of carbon, the element upon which all known life is based. Thus, these forces cooperate in such a way as to create a consonance of energy levels, which enables the production of carbon from the fusing of three helium atoms.

Under normal circumstances, if the energies do not match up perfectly, for three helium atoms to collide and create carbon is very unlikely and thus, the slightest change to either the strong nuclear or electromagnetic forces would alter the energy levels, resulting in greatly reduced production of carbon and an ultimately uninhabitable universe. That is, if neutrons were a fraction heavier, they could not be bound within the nuclei of atoms and so life would be impossible. Equally, if the weak nuclear force were a little weaker, all the...

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