The contributors to this book explore the subjects of what it means to be human (the first part) and what it means to be humane (the second part) from a variety of perspectives. Each has the goal of discerning whether there is indeed a human nature and, if so, what that human nature consists of. The end result is a fascinating study in the variety and complexity of human existence.
Among the themes explored are the nature of humanity, a primarily Western question, from the perspective of the religions and philosophies of the Orient; the questions of human equality and dignity in relation to race and gender; what uniting factors exist among all human beings; and whether there is some defect inherent in human beings. Each subject is explored in relationship with others and from an unique standpoint.
While I disagree with much of the analysis, all of it makes for fascinating reading and each essay provides some insight one of the most important questions a person can ask: what is a human being?
I recommend this book for anyone interested in philosophy and/or anthropology.