Cutting To The Core / Edition 1

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Surgery inevitably inflicts some harm on the body. At the very least, it damages the tissue that is cut. These harms often are clearly outweighed by the overall benefits to the patient. However, where the benefits do not outweigh the harms or where they do not clearly do so, surgical interventions become morally contested. Cutting to the Core examines a number of such surgeries, including infant male circumcision and cutting the genitals of female children, the separation of conjoined twins, surgical sex assignment of intersex children and the surgical re-assignment of transsexuals, limb and face transplantation, cosmetic surgery, and placebo surgery. When, if ever, do the benefits of these surgeries outweigh their costs? May a surgeon perform dangerous procedures that are not clearly to the patient's benefit, even if the patient consents to them? May a surgeon perform any surgery on a minor patient if there are no clear benefits to that child? These and other related questions are the core themes of this collection of essays.

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Editorial Reviews

The New England Journal Of Medicine
Several contributions stand out as exceptionally novel and insightful.
Prospective surgeons, along with other health professionals and the public, should read this book.
Hastings Center Report
Although the book was written primarily with surgeons in mind and is ideally suited to help them reflect on their own practices, its accessibility and openness to the contradictory realities of embodiment invite us all to think more critically about what we expect surgery to do for us and what the surgical elimination of embodied differences would mean for our sense of who we are, our interactions with one another, and the quality of our social lives.
Metapsychology Online
Cutting to the Core is an interesting and enlightening book...I regard the book as a valuable addition to my bioethics library.
— Andrew Brei, Purdue University
Kathy Davis
Cutting to the Core shows us how we need to think about some of the most disturbing forms of surgical intervention-interventions which are fervently desired by individuals, but which may do more harm than good. This compelling and highly accessible collection of essays establishes once and for all the importance of ethics for understanding the implications of medical practice.
Prospective surgeons, along with other health professionals and the public, should read this book.
Metapsychology Online Reviews - Andrew Brei
Cutting to the Core is an interesting and enlightening book...I regard the book as a valuable addition to my bioethics library.
Glenn McGee
We can remake ourselves. Or can we? This is the definitive collection of what happens when our and our children's identity goes under the knife.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742550018
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 0.56 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Benatar is an associate professor and head of the philosophy department at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Preface Part 2 Introduction: The Ethics of Contested Surguries Part 3 Part I: Male Circumcision and Female Genital Cutting Chapter 4 1. Between Prophylaxis and Child Abuse: The Ethics of Neonatal Male Circumcision Chapter 5 2. The Ethics of Neonatal Male Circumcision: Helping Parents to Decide Chapter 6 3. Genital Alteration of Female Minors Part 7 Part II: Sex Assignment and Reassignment Surgery Chapter 8 4. The Ethics of Surgically Assigning Sex for Intersex Infants Chapter 9 5. Transsexualism and Gender Reassignment Surgery Part 10 Part III: Separating Conjoined Twins Chapter 11 6. Separating Conjoined Twins: Disability, Ontology and Moral Status Chapter 12 7. Conjunction and Separation: Viable Relationships, Equitable Partings Part 13 Part IV: Limb and Face Transplantation Chapter 14 8. Ethical Issues in Limb Transplants Chapter 15 9. Changing faces: Ethics, identity and facial transplantation Part 16 Part V: Cosmetic Surgery Chapter 17 10. A Defence of Cosmetic Surgery Chapter 18 11. Beauty under the Knife: A Feminist Appraisal of Cosmetic Surgery Part 19 Part VI: Placebo Surgery Chapter 20 12. The Emperor's New Scar: The Ethics of Placebo Surgery Chapter 21 13. Sham Surgery and Reasonable Risks Part 22 Suggestions for Further Reading Part 23 Index Part 24 About the Editor and Contributors

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