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A Companion to Bioethics / Edition 2

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This volume provides everything needed to soundly grasp the ideas and issues involved in the field of bioethics. Building on the model used by Peter Singer in his highly successful Companion to Ethics, the Companion to Bioethics consists of 47 specially written essays designed to present the key issues and concepts in an authoritative, yet always readable, non-technical manner. An extremely comprehensive index allows readers to find terms and topics not listed in the titles of the essays themselves.

A Companion to Bioethics is an essential work of reference for doctors, nurses, lawyers, journalists, philosophers, moral theologians, sociologists and anyone interested in the ethical issues that are transforming lives. It is applicable both to everyday health care practice, as well as the far-reaching issues arising from the revolution in the biological sciences.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The contributors are all experts in the field, and this shows in the quality and breadth of information provided... the Companion is still the best secondary source in navigating the complex and ever-evolving field of bioethics." (Metapsychology, December 2010)

"The second edition of A Companion to Bioethics, edited by ethicists Singer (Princeton) and Kuhse (Monash Univ., Australia), should be... a standard one-volume reference work in the field of bioethics. The book's helpful summary of the field's major debates makes it especially helpful for smaller collections that do not procure many of the increasingly specialized monographs on narrow bioethical issues. The book also features a wide range of authors— from such established scholars as James Childress and the late R. M. Hare to new voices in the field, such as Eric Gregory, who contributes an essay titled "Religion and Bioethics." The essays in the collection are accessible to many levels of readers; those unfamiliar with these debates will find the essays helpful introductions, and specialists will find new readings of classic works or new perspectives on old debates. This important, comprehensive, and superbly edited reference work will prove useful to students and scholars at all levels and a worthwhile addition to all collections." (CHOICE, July 2010)

"The reader or student who is interested in bioethics and wants to get a picture about the main questions on this subject will find excellent answers in this exquisite publication edited by Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer. The goal of the editors was to give as complete a picture as possible, choosing very carefully from the theme of bioethics; they succeeded in their goal. This success was achieved because the authors of the book are acknowledged and respected scientists and teachers of bioethics, and they used their experience to give the reader an insight into their subject material." (Nursing Ethics)

"Although the growth of bioethical discussion and practice has been huge in the last decades, the contents of the book provide a good introduction to the whole of the discipline, from discussions about the relationship between bioethics and law, culture, gender, or religion, to a survey of the different approaches available in ethical theory…. Together with an useful index and directory, and its accompanying volume of classical texts Bioethics: An Anthology, … this book provides an ideal basis for course and committee use in this field, and will be of interest to doctors, therapists, lawyers, journalists, and philosophers alike. Not to forget, of course, patients — a group we all are likely to join at one time or another." (

A comprehensive reference for novices to the field and people in other professions who want to understand the basic issues now being debated. The 47 commissioned articles cover the history of bioethics, its relation to such fields as religion and law, ethical approaches, issues involving embryos and fetuses, reproduction, the new genetics, life and death, resource allocation, organ donations, AIDS, experimentation with human subjects and with animals, ethical issues in the practice of health care, and teaching and practicing bioethics. The index is very detailed to facilitate finding various perspectives on a specific topic. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405163316
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/2/2009
  • Series: Blackwell Companions to Philosophy Series , #28
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 1,169,089
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Helga Kuhse is Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, Australia. She is the author, co-author or editor of more than 150 professional articles and some 15 books, including Bioethics: An Anthology (co-edited with Peter Singer, Second Edition, Blackwell, 2006).

Peter Singer is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than forty books, including Animal Liberation (first published in 1975), widely credited with triggering the modern animal-rights movement, Practical Ethics (Third Edition, 2011), In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave (Blackwell, 2005), The Moral of the Story: An Anthology of Ethics Through Literature (co-edited with Renata Singer, Blackwell, 2004) and The Life You Can Save (2009). He was the founding president of the International Association of Bioethics, and in 2005, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

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Table of Contents

List of Contributors
1 What is bioethics? A historical introduction 3
2 Ethical theory and bioethics 15
3 Bioethics and cultural diversity 24
4 Gender and bioethics 32
5 Religion and bioethics 41
6 Law and bioethics 49
7 A principle-based approach 61
8 An absolute rule approach 72
9 A Utilitarian approach 80
10 A virtue ethics approach 86
11 A care approach 98
12 A case approach 106
13 Personhood 117
14 Abortion 127
15 Mother-fetus conflict 135
16 Population issues 149
17 Assisted reproduction 163
18 Prenatal screening, sex selection and cloning 173
19 Gene therapy 189
20 Mapping the human genome 198
21 Creating and patenting new life forms 206
22 Genetic screening and counselling 215
23 Medical decisions at the end of life 231
24 Severely disabled newborns 242
25 Brain death, cortical death and persistent vegetative state 250
26 Advance directives 261
27 Voluntary euthanasia, suicide and physician-assisted suicide 272
28 The slippery slope argument 280
29 Micro-allocation: deciding between patients 293
30 Macro-allocation: dividing up the health care budget 306
31 Is there a right to health care and, if so, what does it encompass? 316
32 Organ transplantation 329
33 AIDS: individual and 'public' interests 343
34 AIDS: ethical issues in the developing world 355
35 Experimentation on human beings 369
36 Ethical issues in human experimentation 379
37 Experimentation on human embryos and fetuses 390
38 History and ethical regulation of animal experimentation: an international perspective 399
39 The moral status of animals and their use as experimental subjects 411
40 Confidentiality 425
41 Truth-telling 432
42 Informed consent and patient autonomy 441
43 Patients doubtfully capable or incapable of consent 452
44 Special issues facing nurses 463
45 Ethics committees and ethics consultants 475
46 How bioethics is being taught: a critical review 485
Index 501
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