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About the Book

The most up-to-date, comprehensive, and accessible introduction available, Bioethics: Principles, Issues, and Cases, Second Edition explores the philosophical, medical, social, and legal aspects of key bioethical issues. Lewis Vaughn offers students a truly unique hybrid text that combines introductory and explanatory material; a wide variety of current readings; classic and contemporary cases; and more robust pedagogy than any other text.

Opening with a thorough introduction to ethics, bioethics, and moral reasoning, Bioethics then covers influential moral theories and the criteria for evaluating them; this gives students the background to relate moral principles and theories to current controversies. Integrating seventy-seven readings, numerous cases, and abundant pedagogical tools, the book addresses the most provocative and controversial topics in bioethics, including paternalism and patient autonomy, truth-telling and confidentiality, informed consent, clinical trials, abortion, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, cloning, genetic testing, gene therapy, embryonic stem-cell dilemmas, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, and the just allocation of health-care resources. With a lucid writing style and a focus on critical thinking that engages students and keeps them interested, Bioethics is ideal for courses in bioethics, biomedical ethics, and medical ethics. In addition, its modular structure gives instructors great flexibility in designing and teaching their courses.


  • “Classic Case Files” describe landmark cases that shaped the debate, while news-making “Cases for Evaluation” encourage students to form their own opinions

  • Various text boxes: “In Depth” boxes contain additional material, illustrations, or analyses, much of it “ripped from the headlines”; “Fact File” boxes provide statistics on the social, medical, and scientific facets of a chapter’s topic; and “Legal Brief” boxes summarize important court rulings and the status of major legislation

  • “Key Terms” are boldfaced and boxed off within the text and then defined in a glossary at the back of the book

  • “Applying Major Theories” sections at the end of each chapter help students relate theories to the issues

  • Unique Support Package (not available with any other text): An Instructor’s Manual and Testbank (available in print and on CD) features reading summaries, essay questions, key terms, sample syllabi, and numerous test questions; a Companion Website contains PowerPoint lecture outlines, reading summaries, student self-test questions, flashcards, and helpful weblinks


Bioethics is an excellent choice for courses in biomedical ethics. The readings are comprehensive and thought-provoking, there is ample support material for students, and Vaughn’s text is engaging, descriptive, and clear.”
– David J. Paul, Western, Michigan University

“The first two chapters are wonderful for providing background on some basic philosophical tools, ethical concepts, theories, and principles. Each subsequent chapter has clear, useful introductions and well-placed pedagogical tools highlighting important classic cases, legal briefs, and more.”
– Sara Schuman, Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College

“The text is well designed, accessible, and a good combination of philosophical readings with feet-on-the- ground cases that are so important for teaching clinical students. It is less expensive than its comparators without sacrificing quality.”
– Stephen Hanson, University of Louisville

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