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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Lisa Judy Chin, MPH, JD (Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons)
Description: This is an anthology of 14 essays by noted scholars from various disciplines that address topics of immediate concern to the public, such as human subject research, reproductive technologies, and the environment.
Purpose: The purpose is to expose the reader to a cross-section of bioethical debates as defined by a group of noted scholars who are noted specialists in their fields, as well as being familiar with the bioethics ramifications. While it examines various topics (e.g., research regulation, reproductive technologies, genomics) that would be covered in a basic textbook about bioethics, this book goes beyond a basic primer. The discussions set forth in the various essays are to assist the reader to think broadly about the current bioethics issues in debate.
Audience: The authors believe that the book would be of value to anyone who is concerned with the interactions between scientific development, ethics, and society. As such, the book would be of interest to students and scholars in the area of ethics of science, as well as in bioethics and environmental ethics. The editors, Arthur Galston PhD, an emeritus professor of biology at Yale, and Christine Peppard, a graduate student in Ethics at Yale Divinity School are affiliated with the Yale University's Interdisciplinary Bioethics Project. The essays are a compilation of manuscripts in association with a series of lectures for the Bioethics and Public Policy Seminar at the Yale University's Institution for Social and Policy Studies from 2000-2004.
Features: The book is composed of three sections: Science and Society; Medical Ethics; and Environmental Ethics. In the Science and Society section, there is significant discussion about current status of human subject research. Of particular interest is Gunsalus's essay on the impact of current human subject research regulation on humanistic research. In the Medical Ethics section, an essay by Rosenberg examines the issue of selective use of health statistics and its ethical implications. Another significant feature is the attention devoted to the environmental ethics — a critical feature in this work.
Assessment: The essays compiled in this book provide thoughtful analysis of ethical debates about issues that have long been part of the bioethics landscape, such as research regulation and reproductive technologies, but also include ethical issues around the use of health data to establish policy and the impact of environmental action and policies on society. The book provides a reader with a larger picture of the issues at stake but also what needs to be considered.