The Roots of Bioethics: Health, Progress, Technology, Death

Overview

Daniel Callahan?-whose cofounding of The Hastings Center in 1969 was one of the most important milestones in the history of bioethics?has written on an uncommonly wide range of issues over a long career. They have moved back and forth between clinical care of individual patients and the ethical problems of health care research and delivery. Through his many writings, four core problems have recurred in all of his work, and influence each of the others. What is health and how has its understanding been shaped by ...

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Overview

Daniel Callahan—-whose cofounding of The Hastings Center in 1969 was one of the most important milestones in the history of bioethics—has written on an uncommonly wide range of issues over a long career. They have moved back and forth between clinical care of individual patients and the ethical problems of health care research and delivery. Through his many writings, four core problems have recurred in all of his work, and influence each of the others. What is health and how has its understanding been shaped by medical progress and the culture of medicine and society? What is progress, a deep value in modern health care and how should we judge it? What kinds of technological innovations that come out of the drive for progress are really good for us-and what do we do when there is a clash between individual good and social good in the use of expensive technologies, a problem now evident in the unsustainable high costs of health care? How should our understanding of the place of an inevitable death in all our lives, and its place in medicine, help us to better think of the goals of medicine and the goals of our life in seeking a good death? Those four questions have been with bioethics from its beginning and will remain with it for the indefinite future. They are the roots of bioethics.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Gina M Fullam, BS (Saint Louis University)
Description: This is a collection of previously published articles and one unpublished manuscript by a founder and leader in the field of bioethics.
Purpose: The author suggests a twofold purpose for the collection. First, he notes that his interdisciplinary interests led him to publish in diverse journals, and this book is a way to gather articles representing the breadth of his work in one place in order to reach a wider audience. In addition, the author asserts that the articles are "a good sampler" of his work over more than four decades, representative of significant themes and arguments.
Audience: Each essay is written in the author's characteristically accessible, yet detailed and insightful style. The collection is thus suitable for students and scholars of bioethics, as well as other interested readers.
Features: The author organizes the essays around four themes: (1) bioethics; (2) aging, death, and medical progress; (3) resource allocation; and (4) technology. The choice of articles showcases the author's skill in considering contentious issues from new angles, as well as his willingness to challenge prevailing and well-entrenched sentiments. Regrettably, though original publication records for the articles are listed at the front of the book, it is a bit inconvenient to read time-sensitive information and arguments without dates of reference immediately at hand. This is especially a frustration given that the articles are not arranged chronologically even within the book's four sections.
Assessment: There is notable insight to be gained from the articles a true pioneer in the field chose as representative of his work, as well as from the sections he chose to frame the selection of articles. Nevertheless, the author's recently published autobiography, In Search of the Good: A Life in Bioethics (MIT Press, 2012) more readily provides this insight. The main contribution of this book, then, is the convenience of having the collection of articles in one place, and in this way, perhaps, serving as a companion to the author's memoir.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199931378
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 838,954
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Senior Research Scholar, President Emeritus and co-founder, Hastings Center of Bioethics. Co-director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy. Authof of 41 books including most recently Taming the Beloved Beast: Why Medical Technology Costs are Destroying Our Health Care System (Princeton University Press, August 2009); Medicine and the Market: Equity vs. Choice (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. The Hastings Center and the Early Years of Bioethics

2. A Memoir of An Interdisciplinary Career

3. Minimalist Ethics

4. Individual Good and Common Good

5. The WHO Definition of Health

6. End-of-Life Care: A Management or Philosophical Problem?

7. Death, Mourning and Medical Progress

8. Terminating Life-Sustaining Treatment For The Demented

9. Killing and Allowing to Die: Why It Is A Mistake To Derive and "Is" from an "Ought"

10. Rationing: Theory, Passion, and Politics

11. Consumer-Directed Health Care: Promise Or Puffery?

12. Social Allocation of Resources For Patients with ESDR

13. Shaping Biomedical Research: The Case of NIH

14. Time For a Change: Planning Our Medical Future

15. Too Much of A Good Thing: How Splendid Technologies Can Go Wrong

16. Demythologizing The Stem Cell Juggernaut

17. Health Technology Assessment Implementation: The Politics of Ethics

18. Bioethics and Fatherhood

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