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The Ethics of Bioethics

, 352 pages
June 2007



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The Ethics of Bioethics

Mapping the Moral Landscape

Stem cell research. Drug company influence. Abortion. Contraception. Long-term and end-of-life care. Human participants research. Informed consent. The list of ethical issues in science, medicine, and public health is long and continually growing. These complex issues pose a daunting task for professionals in the expanding field of bioethics. But what of the practice of bioethics itself? What issues do ethicists and bioethicists confront in their efforts to facilitate sound moral reasoning and judgment in a variety of venues? Are those immersed in the field capable of making the right decisions? How and why do they face moral challenge—and even compromise—as ethicists? What values should guide them? In The Ethics of Bioethics, Lisa A. Eckenwiler and Felicia G. Cohn tackle these questions head on, bringing together notable medical ethicists and people outside the discipline to discuss common criticisms, the field’s inherent tensions, and efforts to assign values and assess success. Through twenty-five lively essays examining the field’s history and trends, shortcomings and strengths, and the political and policy interplay within the bioethical realm, this comprehensive book begins a much-needed critical and constructive discussion of the moral landscape of bioethics.

Lisa A. Eckenwiler is an associate professor of philosophy and director of health care ethics at the George Mason University Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics. Felicia G. Cohn is an associate professor and the director of medical ethics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Medical Center.

"Without question, The Ethics of Bioethics is a must-read for all persons involved with bioethics. This well-written, well-organized paperback seeks to analyze the many facets of ethics in the field of bioethics."

"The editors have compiled a cogent collection that signifies an important contribution to bioethics that is reflective of the complexity and importance of the field."

"Anyone who takes bioethics seriously will find much to applaud."

"The strength of the volume is not that it answers questions of the ethics of bioethics, but rather that it offers an accurate portrait of the diverse views of the field."

" The Ethics of Bioethics is a sterling contribution to the ongoing debate in bioethics regarding who we are, what we do, and what we are becoming. I would strongly encourage its use for educators in bioethics who want their students to engage in these ongoing dialogues."

"Eckenwiler and Cohn have done the evolving field of bioethics a great service by assembling 25 thoughtful and erudite essays into this excellent book... It is provocative and stimulating and may help change your views about what is most important for medicine in the 21st century."

"Why have the values and influence of the scientific enterprise and the medical profession degenerated just as bioethics has ascended to near-disciplinary status? Organizational and political ineptitude, genetic obsessiveness, and ahistorical attitudes, as well as unimaginative prophesizing—all these challenges to the field are discussed in this book, pointing to the need for a deeper bioethics or none at all."

" The Ethics of Bioethics is a milestone in the field of bioethics. It brings together all the right people, asking all the right questions and proposing answers to meet the challenges of our time. Anyone who is paid to do work in bioethics—and, for that matter, anyone who takes bioethical inquiry seriously—will need to read this book and engage the issues it raises."

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