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Biomedical Ethics

Walter Glannon

Publication Date - July 2004

ISBN: 9780195144314

192 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

An engaging philosophical introduction to the most important ethical positions and arguments in the major areas of biomedicine. Now in paperback!


Today, advances in medicine and biotechnology occur at a rapid pace and have a profound impact on our lives. Mechanical devices can sustain an injured person's life indefinitely. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the body and brain can reveal disorders before symptoms appear. Genetic testing of embryos can predict whether people will have diseases earlier or later in life. It may even become possible to clone human beings. These and other developments raise difficult ethical questions.
Biomedical Ethics is an engaging philosophical introduction to the most important ethical positions and arguments in six areas of biomedicine: the patient-doctor relationship, medical research on humans, reproductive rights and technologies, genetics, medical decisions at the end of life, and the allocation of scarce medical resources. Concisely capturing the historical, contemporary, and future-oriented aspects of the field, author Walter Glannon discusses both perennial issues in medicine, such as doctors' duties to patients, and recent and emerging issues in scientific innovation, including gene therapy and cloning. Ideal for undergraduate courses in contemporary moral problems, introduction to ethics, and introduction to bioethics, Biomedical Ethics is accessible to students who have little or no background in ethical theory, medicine, or biotechnology.

About the Author(s)

Walter Glannon is Canada Research Chair in Medical Bioethics and Ethical Theory at the University of Calgary, where he is Associate Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Community Health Sciences.


"As an introduction to the controversies and possible solutions in the field of biomedical ethics, this text is first rate. . . . The author carefully weaves a path through the debates and their presuppositions in order to reveal the foundations for choices that others have made or are making in contemporary society and theory. Glannon attempts to include all major current issues in this field and does a remarkable job."--Irene E. Harvey, Pennsylvania State University

"Glannon's clear and lively use of contemporary cases and policies in biomedical ethics will appeal to health care practitioners as well as to bioethicists. Most importantly, it will capture the interest of students who are routinely confronted with biomedical issues in their everyday personal and professional lives. Glannon will help readers set their moral compass straight enough to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of health care."--Rosemarie Tong, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

"A well-written and informative introduction to the topic of biomedical ethics. The author is familiar not only with the philosophical literature, but is also knowledgeable about the practice of medicine as it occurs today. A refreshing change from many of the current texts used in philosophy classes."--Scott Wilson, Wright State University

Table of Contents

    Each chapter opens with an Introduction and ends with a Conclusion and Selected Readings.
    1. History and Theories
    The Need for Theories
    Consequentialism and Deontology
    Virtue Ethics and Feminist Ethics
    Communitarianism and Liberalism
    The Rejection of Theories: Casuistry and Cultural Relativism
    2. The Patient-Doctor Relationship
    Informed Consent
    Therapeutic Privilege
    Cross-Cultural Relations
    What Sort of Doctors Do We Need?
    3. Medical Research on Humans
    Design of Clinical Trials
    Equipoise, Randomization, and Placebos
    Problems with Consent
    Vulnerable Populations
    Protections and Justice
    4. Reproductive Rights and Technologies
    The Moral Status of Embryos
    Surrogate Pregnancy
    Sex Selection
    5. Genetics
    Genetic Testing and Screening
    Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
    Gene Therapy
    Genetic Enhancement
    6. Medical Decisions at the End of Life
    Defining Death
    Withdrawing and Withholding Treatment
    Double Effect
    Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide
    7. Allocating Scarce Medical Resources
    Setting Priorities
    Quality-Adjusted Life-Years
    Age-Based Rationing
    Organ Transplantation
    Two-Tiered Health Care

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