Stories and Their Limits: Narrative Approaches to Bioethics

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Narratives have always played a prominent role in both bioethics and medicine; the fields have attracted much storytelling, ranging from great literature to humbler stories of sickness and personal histories. And all bioethicists work with cases--from court cases that

shape policy matters to case studies that chronicle sickness. But how useful are these various narratives for sorting out moral matters? What kind of ethical work can stories do--and what are the limits to this work? The new essays in Stories and Their Limits offer

insightful reflections on the relationship between narratives and ethics.

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Editorial Reviews

The editor is director of the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics at the U. of Tennessee, Knoxville. She draws together 17 essays by contributors involved with medical ethics and the humanities who discuss how stories, case studies, personal narratives, and clinical anecdotes affect ethical sensibilities. A sampling of topics: the meaning of "narrative ethics," the ethical dimensions of literature, narrative competence, and narrative rationality and the negotiation of clinical choice. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415919098
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/29/1997
  • Series: Reflective Bioethics Series
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Hilde Lindemann Nelson is Director of the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is the co-author of The Patient in the Family (Routledge 1995) and Alzeimer's: Answers to Hard Questions for Families (1996) and editor of Feminism and Families (Routledge 1997). She is also the co-editor of the Reflective Bioethics series.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: How to Do Things with Stories
I Telling the Patient's Story
1 What Do We Mean by "Narrative Ethics?" 3
2 Who Gets to Tell the Story? Narrative in Postmodern Bioethics 18
3 Enacting Illness Stories: When, What, and Why 31
4 Autobiography, Biography, and Narrative Ethics 50
5 Nice Story, But So What? Narrative and Justification in Ethics 65
II Reading Narratives of Illness
6 The Ethical Dimensions of Literature: Henry James's The Wings of the Dove 91
7 Film and Narrative in Bioethics: Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru 113
8 Perplexed about Narrative Ethics 123
9 Bioethics' Consensus on Method: Who Could Ask for Anything More? 134
III Literary Criticism in the Clinic
10 Medical Ethics and the Epiphanic Dimension of Narrative 153
11 What to Expect from an Ethics Case and What It Expects from You 171
12 Narrative Competence 185
13 Toward a Bioethics for the Twenty-First Century: A Ricoeurian Poststructuralist Narrative Hermeneutic Approach to Informed Consent 198
IV Narratives Invoked
14 Aphorisms, Maxims, and Old Saws: Narrative Rationality and the Negotiation of Clinical Choice 215
15 The Moral of the Story 232
16 Medical Humanities: Pyramids and Rhomboids in the Rationalist World of Medicine 238
17 Narratives Versus Norms: A Misplaced Debate in Bioethics 252
Contributors 273
Index 277
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