The Development of Bioethics in the United States

The Development of Bioethics in the United States

by Jeremy R. Garrett, Fabrice Jotterand, D. Christopher Ralston
     
 

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In only four decades, bioethics has transformed from a fledgling field into a complex, rapidly expanding, multidisciplinary field of inquiry and practice. Its influence can be found not only in our intellectual and biomedical institutions, but also in almost every facet of our social, cultural, and political life. This volume maps the remarkable development of

Overview

In only four decades, bioethics has transformed from a fledgling field into a complex, rapidly expanding, multidisciplinary field of inquiry and practice. Its influence can be found not only in our intellectual and biomedical institutions, but also in almost every facet of our social, cultural, and political life. This volume maps the remarkable development of bioethics in American culture, uncovering the important historical factors that brought it into existence, analyzing its cultural, philosophical, and professional dimensions, and surveying its potential future trajectories. Bringing together a collection of original essays by seminal figures in the fields of medical ethics and bioethics, it addresses such questions as the following: - Are there precise moments, events, socio-political conditions, legal cases, and/or works of scholarship to which we can trace the emergence of bioethics as a field of inquiry in the United States? - What is the relationship between the historico-causal factors that gave birth to bioethics and the factors that sustain and encourage its continued development today? - Is it possible and/or useful to view the history of bioethics in discrete periods with well-defined boundaries? - If so, are there discernible forces that reveal why transitions occurred when they did? What are the key concepts that ultimately frame the field and how have they evolved and developed over time? - Is the field of bioethics in a period of transformation into biopolitics? Contributors include George Annas, Howard Brody, Eric J. Cassell, H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr., Edmund L. Erde, John Collins Harvey, Albert R. Jonsen, Loretta Kopelman, Laurence B. McCullough, Edmund D. Pellegrino, Warren T. Reich, Carson Strong, Robert M. Veatch, and Richard M. Zaner.

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Gina M Fullam, BS (Saint Louis University)
Description: This edited book explores the past, present, and future of bioethics in the United States from cultural, philosophical, political, and professional angles.
Purpose: The editors' hope is that the "rich and unique perspective" their book offers can enhance understanding of the development of bioethics. Individual essays and the first-person vignettes many contributors share indeed provide new insights. The editors and contributing authors are well respected in the field.
Audience: Though the editors do not specify an audience, the book will benefit bioethics scholars and advanced students. Unfortunately, interested general readers will be confused or misled. In the individual essays, diverse, controversial, and sometimes incompatible perspectives are argued or assumed. However, there is no dialogue among the essays and the book offers no means to navigate the competing perspectives. Moreover, readers without extensive contextual knowledge could be led to mistakenly assume a number of unchallenged (contentious) positions are authoritative.
Features: The essays include first-person narratives and assessments of the early years of the Hastings Center, Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and the Kennedy Institute, evaluation of the cultural and political context of and influences on the development of bioethics, argumentation on the disciplinary status of bioethics, historical survey and analysis of medical ethics (versus bioethics), and calls for greater attention to philosophical questions and foundations in bioethics. The diversity of topics and perspectives is both the strength of the book, with due commendation for the inclusion of voices outside of mainstream bioethics, and the main weakness, as discussed above.
Assessment: Though disorienting in the multiplicity of unquestioned perspectives it offers, the book is a worthwhile contribution to the literature on the development of bioethics in the United States. Perhaps unwittingly, the editors have allowed the book to enhance an understanding of the past, present, and future of bioethics precisely in this disorientation, which is arguably an accurate reflection of the field.
From the Publisher

From the reviews:

“This edited book explores the past, present, and future of bioethics in the United States from cultural, philosophical, political, and professional angles. … the book will benefit bioethics scholars and advanced students. … the book is a worthwhile contribution to the literature on the development of bioethics in the United States.” (Gina M. Fullam, Doody’s Book Reviews, July, 2013)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9789400740105
Publisher:
Springer Netherlands
Publication date:
01/02/2013
Series:
Philosophy and Medicine Series , #115
Edition description:
2013
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.03(d)

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