Principles of Biomedical Ethics / Edition 6

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Overview

Biomedical ethics was a young field when the first edition of this book went to press in late 1977. Immense changes occurred in the field's literature between the first edition and the present, fourth edition. Although major changes have appeared in all editions after the first, this edition includes more significant changes than any other.

This book contains no illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Angela Schneider-O'Connell
This is a much-needed reworking and updating of a fundamental text in biomedical ethics. The authors accomplish this task with great success. "The purpose is to provide a solid grounding for biomedical ethics. This edition goes beyond the previous editions in carrying out this task. It not only describes the field of ethics, its theories and their application to biomedical issues through the principles of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice, but it also actively engages the debate about the principle-based approach. "This book is an excellent introductory text. It is useful for those entering the field of biomedical ethics from other disciplines, clinical or nonclinical. Established practitioners in the field will welcome it as a valuable contribution to the debate of the principle-based approach. "The appendix of this edition presents 10 cases, some of which have led to landmark decisions. Even though the appendixes of the second and third editions presented 35 and 38 cases, respectively, this is not a drawback because the authors have incorporated additional cases into the text and because the 10 cases cover a wide range of issues in biomedical ethics. "The previous editions of this text have become classics in biomedical ethics. This edition is a serious reworking and will no doubt become a classic in its own right. Some of the shortcomings of the previous editions, such as its pedestrian literary style, gaps in the index, and the lack of a representative bibliography, have not been overcome. These shortcomings fade when compared to the contribution that this book makes to the field of biomedical ethics. I would recommend that anyone studying biomedical ethics, anyoneworking in this field, and certainly any health sciences library acquire this new edition.
From the Publisher
Praise for the previous edition:

"The new sixth edition of Principles of Biomedical Ethics is a welcome event. There is nothing else like it in the field of bioethics. It has easily become over the years the most used, most praised, and most distinguished book in the field. Each edition moves beyond the previous ones in important and nuanced ways. Beauchamp and Childress keep up with the ever-changing terrain of bioethics, and work hard to refine their own arguments. It gets better and better. One can hardly ask for more."—Daniel Callahan, Director, International Program, The Hastings Center

"What is by far the best general book on bioethics has gotten even better. The new material on international justice and virtue ethics is especially valuable. Such a combination of accessibility and rigor is rarely attained."—Allen Buchanan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and James B. Duke Professor of Public Policy Studies, Duke University

"This sixth edition of Principles of Biomedical Ethics reaffirms its undisputed stature as a canonical text for the world's bioethicists. It maintains a standard of scholarship and clarity appealing to neophytes and seasoned scholars, to adherents and critics of its principled approach."—Edmund D. Pellegrino, Chairman, President's Council on Bioethics

"The contemporary field of bioethics is unimaginable, absent this text. Principles of Biomedical Ethics provided a paradigmatic approach that shaped the early character of bioethics. It continues to be a source of serious debate regarding the nature of morality and the significance of bioethics. No one can understand the field of bioethics apart from this volume."—H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., M.D., Professor, Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine

"Like all of its previous incarnations, this new edition of Principles of Biomedical Ethics offers the reader a window onto the cutting edge of contemporary bioethics. Never content to merely recycle, buff, and slap new covers on old material, Beauchamp and Childress have once again rethought fundamental issues and fully engaged with their critics (including me). Beyond merely contributing to the field of bioethics, PBE has helped to define it."—John D. Arras, Porterfield Professor of Bioethics, University of Virginia

"Every new edition of this classic gets better and better. This is essential reading for all students and scholars of bioethics."—Bernard Lo, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Director, Program in Medical Ethics, University of California, San Francisco

"Principles of Biomedical Ethics has, over six successive editions, clarified and expanded the concepts, definitions, and arguments that make bioethics a discipline instead of random shards of opinion, sometimes astute, sometimes silly, that pass in the media for ethical commentary on medicine and science. This book is the thesaurus of bioethical discourse."—Albert R. Jonsen, Professor Emeritus, Department of Medical History and Ethics, University of Washington

"The sixth edition of Principles of Biomedical Ethics, which more than any other book has helped to shape the field of biomedical ethics, is even better than the previous five editions. Beauchamp and Childress continue to listen to their critics, of whom I am one, and to change their book accordingly. Although I still have some problems with the theory of principlism, I have nothing but admiration for their comprehensive and detailed discussion of the moral problems that arise in the field of medicine."—Bernard Gert, Stone Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, Dartmouth College

"Anyone with an interest in the field, including all those who have already been influenced by previous editions of Principles of Biomedical Ethics—and who in our field hasn't been, directly or indirectly?—should read the sixth edition. They will find the by-now familiar principles treated in new ways and, more importantly, thoughtful examinations of global health and of the relationship of vulnerability and exploitation to the often-neglected principle of justice. This book is now essential reading not only for those who grapple with clinical dilemmas and the challenges of biomedical research but also for anyone working on the frontiers of public health, where global epidemics and routine surveillance raise some of the most difficult issues in bioethics."—Alexander M. Capron, University Professor, University of Southern California, and Former Director, Ethics, Trade, Human Rights and Health Law, World Health Organization

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Tyler S Gibb, JD, PhD (c)(UCLA Health Ethics Center)
Description: This seventh edition of one of the foundational bioethics texts is both an update and an expansion of previous editions. In particular, it expands the argument regarding the common morality and the discussion of virtue theory, and adds sections on moral virtue, moral ideals, and moral excellence.
Purpose: The purpose is to engage critics of the authors' moral framework, commonly referred to as principlism, update the book with emerging issues, and to clarify their overall theoretical project. Although much of the structure remains unchanged, the updates and edits are illuminating, important, and valuable.
Audience: This book is critical, from both a historical and a developmental perspective, to understanding bioethics. Thus, bioethicists and students of bioethics, as well as healthcare professionals and members of ethics committees, should carefully read this book. Any understanding of bioethics would be insufficient without an appreciation and understanding of the moral framework this book establishes. In addition to being a foundational text, it is a valuable tool for teaching bioethics and ethical decision-making in the classroom.
Features: In this seventh edition, "virtually every section and subsection" includes attempts to sharpen analyses, strengthen arguments, and address criticisms. After laying the groundwork for a theory of common morality in chapter one, the remaining nine chapters offer explanations and deep philosophical arguments on a variety of important concepts, including, for example, moral status, justice, and the professional-patient relationship.
Assessment: By engaging critics of principlism, this edition is a critical book for the field of bioethics. Although each subsequent edition seems to expand the reach of principlism, this one represents both an expansion as well as a tightening of the overall theory.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195335705
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/23/2008
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 294,717
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom L. Beauchamp is Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University.

James F. Childress is University Professor and John Allen Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics at the University of Virginia.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Moral Foundations

1 Moral Norms 1

Normative and Nonnormative Ethics 1

The Common Morality as Universal Morality 2

Particular Moralities as Nonuniversal 5

Moral Dilemmas 10

A Framework of Moral Norms 12

Conflicting Moral Norms 14

Conclusion 25

2 Moral Character 30

Moral Virtues 30

Virtues in Professional Roles 33

The Virtue of Caring 36

Five Focal Virtues 38

Moral Virtues and Action Guides 45

Moral Ideals 47

Moral Excellence 51

Conclusion 57

3 Moral Status 64

The Problem of Moral Status 64

Theories of Moral Status 66

From Theories to Practical Guidelines 81

Vulnerable Populations 89

Conclusion 93

Pt. II Moral Principles

4 Respect for Autonomy 99

The Nature of Autonomy 99

The Capacity for Autonomous Choice 111

The Meaning and Justification of Informed Consent 117

Disclosure 121

Understanding 127

Voluntariness 132

A Framework of Standards for Surrogate Decision Making 135

Conclusion 140

5 Nonmaleficence 149

The Concept of Nonmaleficence 149

Distinctions and Rules Governing Nontreatment 155

Optional Treatments and Obligatory Treatments 166

Killing and Letting Die 172

The Justification of Intentionally Arranged Deaths 176

Protecting Incompetent Patients 185

Conclusion 190

6 Beneficence 197

The Concept of Beneficence 197

Obligatory Beneficence and Ideal Beneficence 198

Paternalism: Conflicts between Beneficence and Autonomy 206

Balancing Benefits, Costs, and Risks 221

The Value and Quality of Life 230

Conclusion 233

7 Justice 240

The Concept of Justice 241

Theories of Justice 244

Fair Opportunity and Unfair Discrimination 248

Vulnerability and Exploitation 253

National HealthPolicy and the Right to Health Care 258

Global Health Policy and the Right to Health 264

Allocating, Setting Priorities, and Rationing 267

Conclusion 280

8 Professional-Patient Relationships 288

Veracity 288

Privacy 296

Confidentiality 302

Fidelity 311

The Dual Roles of Clinician and Investigator 317

Conclusion 324

Pt. III Theory and Method

9 Moral Theories 333

Criteria for Theory Construction 334

Utilitarianism 336

Kantianism 343

Rights Theory 350

Communitarianism 356

Convergence of Theories 361

Conclusion 363

10 Method and Moral 368

Justification 368

Justification in Ethics 368

Top-Down Models: Theory and Application 369

Bottom-Up Models: Cases and Analogy 375

An Integrated Model Using Reflective Equilibrium 381

Common-Morality Theory 387

Conclusion 397

Index 403

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Frankly, I thought it was terrible

    This book was required for my Bachelor's program. It was confusingly written, with no clear definitions of terms. Quite honestly, I question the authors knowledge of medical practice; they constantly referred to mechanical ventilators as "respirators." There is no such machine. If they got this basic fact wrong, what else are they incorrect about? They did offer some compelling examples, but the bulk of the book had to be read and reread to try and discern what they were trying to say. Awful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Circular Logic

    While they address all relevant issues regarding biomedical ethics, their reasoning is mainly just opinions. They argue their points well but tend to write in circles, making up many terms and ideas to support their logic. I would never recommend this to anyone. This book was required reading for my graduate degree. How can you write about what ethics and morals are "right?" They do and take the assumption that the right way to think is theirs. One's ethics do not change after reading this, but they do assume that is what should happen. It is written in a very difficult style. You have to re-read paragraphs to understand their reasoning. They should have organized their chapters better or at least provide outlines. Plus their opinions are not realistic because they do not consider many aspects of healthcare like the numerous professions involved, politics, lawyers, insurnace, business principles, costs and actual laws.

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  • Posted August 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The best book on biomedical ethics

    Tom Beauchamp, of Georgetown University, and James Childress, of the University of Virginia, have produced a splendid sixth edition of their classic book on biomedical ethics. Throughout, the authors sensitively discuss real life dilemmas.

    Part 1 looks at moral foundations: moral norms, moral character and moral status. Part 2 studies what the authors define as the four key moral principles, general norms of our common morality: respect for autonomy, doing no harm, beneficence and justice. Part 3 examines moral theories and moral justification.

    They argue that there is not just one supreme moral value, a single absolute yardstick to solve every ethical problem. They write, "The problems of bioethics are often problems of getting just the right specification or balance of principles. Principles should never be conceived as trumps that allow them alone to determine a right outcome. . rights, like all principles and rules of obligation, are prima facie (i.e., presumptively) valid claims that sometimes must yield to other claims."

    To aid our moral deliberation and decision-making, we need to consider our actions or inactions in regard to dilemmas in the light of each of the principles. "Principles need to be made specific for cases, and case analysis needs illumination from general principles." Putting the four principles of bioethics into practice results in moral behaviour.

    The authors argue that respect for autonomy is not necessarily individualistic, rationalist or legalistic. With beneficence, we must take responsibility for our community, competently, compassionately and cooperatively.

    The authors argue that justice entails that governments fund health care, as our collective social protection against threats to health. Justice (fairness and equity) and utility (efficiency) are essential to health care systems.

    They sum up, "Policies of just access to health care, strategies of efficiency in health care institutions, and global needs for the reduction of health-impairing conditions dwarf in social importance every other issue considered in this book. . we have proposed that society recognize global rights to health and enforceable rights to a decent minimum of health care within a framework of allocation that incorporates both utilitarian and egalitarian standards."

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