Author: Leon R. Kass

Leon R. Kass, M.D., is the Madden-Jewett Scholar at AEI, Harding Professor Emeritus in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, and coeditor of What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2011). Originally trained in medicine and biochemistry, he shifted directions from doing science to thinking about its human meaning, and he has been engaged for forty years with ethical and philosophical issues raised by biomedical advancements, and, more recently, with broader moral and cultural issues. Dr. Kass taught at St. John’s College (Annapolis) and Georgetown University before returning in 1976 to the University of Chicago, where he was until 2010 an award-winning teacher deeply involved in undergraduate education and committed to the study of classic texts. With his wife, Amy A. Kass, he helped found a still-popular core humanities course on Human Being and Citizen and a degree-granting major, Fundamentals: Issues and Texts, emphasizing big questions and great books.

Abraham Lincoln’s Re-founding of the Nation

Leon R. Kass
The Gettysburg Address has been memorized, recited, and admired. Countless scholars have discussed its rhetorical devices, literary merit, and political reception. But few have attended to the thought of Lincoln’s speech and the deeper purposes that it serves.

Letter on the Civil Rights Movement

Leon R. Kass

In the summer of 1965, while the Voting Rights Act was being enacted, the editors of this volume, Amy Apfel Kass (1940–2015; then a high school history teacher in Lincoln-Sudbury, Massachusetts) and her husband Leon R. Kass (b. 1939; then a graduate student in biochemistry at Harvard University) spent a month in Mississippi doing civil rights work.

Working as Meaningful Fulfillment

Leon R. Kass

On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, American educator Leon R. Kass (b. 1939) delivered the 2012 Irving Kristol Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute Annual Dinner in Washington, DC. In his remarks, titled “The Other War on Poverty: Finding Meaning in America,” Kass considers “the growing gap between our thriving capitalist economy and our unraveling bourgeois culture. . . . Are we Americans, despite our continuing freedom and prosperity, really losing the quest for a meaningful life?” This excerpt describes how work, properly understood, can serve as both “a spiritual as well as a bodily exercise.”