Ethics in an Epidemic: AIDS, Morality, and Culture

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Overview


AIDS strikes most heavily at those already marginalized by conventional society. With no immediate prospect of vaccination or cure, how can liberty, dignity, and reasoned hope be preserved in the shadow of an epidemic? In this humane and graceful book, philosopher Timothy Murphy offers insight into our attempts—popular and academic, American and non-American, scientific and political—to make moral sense of pain.

Murphy addresses the complex moral questions raised by AIDS for health-care workers, politicians, policy makers, and even people with AIDS themselves. He ranges widely, analyzing contrasting visions of the origin and the future of the epidemic, the moral and political functions of obituaries, the uncertain value of celebrity involvement in anti-AIDS education, the functional uses of AIDS in the discourse of presidential campaigns, the exclusionary function of HIV testing for immigrants, the priority given to AIDS on the national health agenda, and the hypnotic publicity given to "innocent" victims.

Murphy's discussions of the many social and political confusions about AIDS are unified by his attempt to articulate the moral assumptions framing our interpretations of the epidemic. By understanding those assumptions, we will be in a better position to resist self-serving and invidious moralizing, reckless political response, and social censure of the sick and the dying.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520086364
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 11/3/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author


Timothy F. Murphy is Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Biomedical Sciences at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He is editor (with Marc Lappé) of Justice and the Human Genome Project (California, 1994) and (with Suzanne Poirier) of Writing AIDS: Gay Literature, Language, and Analysis (1993).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Meaning of Aids
1 The Once and Future Epidemic 11
2 The Search for a Cure 28
3 Testimony 52
Pt. 2 HIV Testing
4 Celebrities and AIDS 69
5 The Angry Death of Kimberly Bergalis 82
6 Health-Care Workers with HIV 93
7 Teaching AIDS in China 108
Pt. 3 AIDS Politics
8 HIV at the Borders 129
9 Politics and Priorities 144
10 No Time for an AIDS Backlash 162
Afterword 183
Notes 189
Index 213
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