In a masterful survey of the history of the idea of human perfection, prize-winning author and noted rhetorician Michael J. Hyde leads a fascinating excursion through Western philosophy, religion, science, and art. Eloquently and engagingly he delves into the canon of Western thought, drawing on figures from St. Augustine and John Rawls to Leonardo da Vinci and David Hume to Kenneth Burke and Mary Shelley. On the journey, Hyde expounds on the very notion and "Otherness" of God, the empirical and ontological workings of daily existence, the development of reason, and the bounds of beauty. In the end, he ponders the consequences of the perfection-driven impulse of medical science and considers the implications of the bourgeoning rhetoric of "our posthuman future." It is nothing short of a triumphant examination of why we humans are challenged to live a life of significant insignificance.
Michael J. Hyde is University Distinguished Professor of Communication Ethics in the Department of Communication and is on the faculty of the Program for Bioethics, Health and Society in the School of Medicine, Wake Forest University. He is the author of The Life-Giving Gift of Acknowledgment, The Ethos of Rhetoric, and award-winning The Call of Conscience. He and his wife live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.