From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice / Edition 1

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Written by four internationally renowned bioethicists, From Chance to Choice is the first systematic treatment of the fundamental ethical issues underlying the application of genetic technologies to human beings. Probing the implications of the remarkable advances in genetics, the authors ask how should these affect our understanding of distributive justice, equality of opportunity, the rights and obligations as parents, the meaning of disability, and the role of the concept of human nature in ethical theory and practice. The book offers a historical context to contemporary debate over the use of these technologies by examining the eugenics movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition, appendices explain the nature of genetic causation, gene-environment interaction, and expose widespread misconceptions of genetic determinism, as well as outlining the nature of the ethical analysis used in the book. The questions raised in this book will be of interest to any reflective reader concerned about science and society and the rapid development of biotechnology, as well as to professionals in such areas as philosophy, bioethics, medical ethics, health management, law, and political science.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" engaging and provocative read." Canadian Bulletin of Medical History

"From Chance to Choice provides a much needed discussion of the fundamental ethical and social issues raised by the application of the new genetics to human beings...a style that combines complex analysis with great readability." Helga Kuhse, Bioethics

"From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice is a very admirable book, much deserving of the praise that is has already received... this is a very succesful volume. The authors have managed to raise an enormous range of issues related to genetic justice with great clarity. Further, they have succeeded in providing the reader with the conceptual tools necessary to begin to address these questions more fruitfully." Medical Humanities Review

"Amazingly, the authors approach this millenial philosophical issue without losing humanity. Their collective style of writing is a joy to read, and their work reads more like poetry than philosophy. Like poetry, too, their words are worth returning to several times, to unearth intentionally embedded subtext with enhanced meaning. Their book will be cited often." New England Journal of Medicine

"In a book which is notable both for the breadth of the questions posed and the depth of the potential responses, these four distinguished moral and political philosophers provide a much needed and well reasoned ethical compass for future journeys into genetics and genomics." Francis S. Collins, Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes for Health, Washington, D.C.

"...the book is an excellent analysis of how to approach the ethical dilemmas raised by biotechnology, particularly concerning distributive justice, from the standpoint of liberal theory. This is a big achievement. Buchanan, Brock, Daniels, and Wikler are on to something big." Boston Book Review

"Buchanan, Brock, Daniels, and Wikler—all philosophers, each with different subspecialities in ethics and bioethics—have written a comprehensive, careful, focused, and usefully opinionated book in which they speak in a surprisingly univocal fashion.... the book's nuanced analyses and detailed arguments...are rewarding to work through." The Philosophical Review

"The field of bioethics needs more books like this one." Ethics

Library Journal
There has been some reluctance in this country, based on the horrific consequences of past eugenics movements, to consider fully the societal impact of recent and future genetic investigations. The authors (professors of philosophy and medical ethics) attempt to develop a moral framework for the theoretical issues relating to genetic interventions. The book aptly illustrates the complexities of these concerns, exploring current ethical theories to determine if they can adequately address these tough issues. Equal opportunity, distributive justice, inclusion, and reproductive freedom are discussed in depth in an analysis of how these concepts relate to genetic technologies. While the authors freely admit that they do not have all the answers, they do conclude with some broad recommendations, particularly regarding the role of the state in genetic policymaking. Prior knowledge of philosophical theories will be helpful for readers of this scholarly work. Recommended for upper-level and graduate research collections.--Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Four bioethicists offer a systematic treatment of the fundamental ethical issues underlying the application of genetic technologies to human beings. They explore the implications of recent advances in genetics with regard to concepts of distributive justice, equality in opportunity, the rights and obligations of parents, the meaning of disability, and our understanding of human nature. Situating the contemporary debate in historical context, the authors also give attention to the eugenics movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Appendices explain the nature of genetic causation and gene-environment interaction, and outline the nature of the ethical analysis used in the book. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521669771
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 414
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Eugenics and its shadow; 3. Genes, justice, and human nature; 4. Positive and negative genetic interventions; 5. Reproductive freedom and the prevention of harm; 6. Why not the best?; 7. Genetic intervention and the morality of inclusion; 8. Policy implications; Appendix 1. The meaning of genetic causation, by Elliott Sober; Appendix 2. Methodology; References.

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