Emanual (oncology and medical ethics, Harvard) rejects the argument that recent issues of medical ethics are the result of new technologies, and contends that they are an inevitable consequence of liberal political values. He proposes a communitarian solution. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Questioning developments in human genetic research from the perspective of people with mental disabilities and their families, Reinders (ethics and mental disability, Vrije U., Amsterdam) argues that using terms such as disease and defect to describe conditions that genetic engineering might eliminate, may also be suggesting that disabled lives are deplorable and horrific. Focusing too narrowly on preventing disabled lives, he warns, is at odds with a commitment to including disabled people fully in society. Annotation copyrighted by Book News Inc., Portland, OR
A Liberal Catholic Bioethics opens a new dialogue between Christian reasoning and belief and secular positions in bioethics. The well documented book covers in detail internal and external debates and positions of Roman Catholic theology and hierarchy: issues of contraception and abortion, palliative care and euthanasia, caring humanely for the demented, the use and abuse of modern technology in medicine. The doctrine of Papal infalliability is identified as a main reason in hindering and suppressing a dialogue within the church, with the faithful and with other religious and humanist positions. Were the Borgia Popes infalliable, was Pope Urban infalliabe when he condemned Gallileo, the author asks. He thus carries the debate far beyond specific bioethics issues towards a more humane medicine and culture.
Medicine and Society New Perspectives in Continental Philosophy
This volume addresses some of the most prominent questions in contemporary bioethics and philosophy of medicine: ‘liberal’ eugenics, enhancement, the normal and the pathological, the classification of mental illness, the relation between genetics, disease and the political sphere, the experience of illness and disability, and the sense of the subject of bioethical inquiry itself. All of these issues are addressed from a “continental” perspective, drawing on a rich tradition of inquiry into these questions in the fields of phenomenology, philosophical hermeneutics, French epistemology, critical theory and post-structuralism. At the same time, the contributions engage with the Anglo-American debate, resulting in a fruitful and constructive conversation that not only shows the depth and breadth of continental perspectives in bioethics and medicine, but also opens new avenues of discussion and exploration. For decades European philosophers have offered important insights into the relation between the practices of medicine, the concept of illness, and society more broadly understood. These interventions have generally striven to be both historically nuanced and accessible to non-experts. From Georges Canguilhem’s seminal The Normal and the Pathological, Michel Foucault’s lectures on madness, sexuality, and biopolitics, Hans Jonas’s deeply thoughtful essays on the right to die, life extension, and ethics in a technological age, Hans-Georg Gadamer’s lectures on The Enigma of Health, and more recently Jürgen Habermas’s carefully nuanced interventions on the question of liberal eugenics, these thinkers have sought to engage the wider public as much as their fellow philosophers on questions of paramount importance to current bioethical and social-political debate. The essays contained here continue this tradition of engagement and accessibility. In the best practices of European philosophy, the contributions in this volume aim to engage with and stimulate a broad spectrum of readers, not just experts. In doing so the volume offers a showcase of the richness and rigor of continental perspectives on medicine and society.
In general, the history of virtue theory is well-documented (Sherman, 1997; O’Neill, 1996). Its relationship to medicine is also recorded in our work and in that of others (Pellegrino and Thomasma, 1993b; 1996; Drane, 1994; Ellos, 1990). General publications stress the importance of training the young in virtuous practices. Still, the popularity of education in virtue is widely viewed as part of a conservative backlash to modern liberal society. Given the authorship of some of these works by professional conservatives like William Bennett (1993; 1995), this concern is authentic. One might correspondingly fear that greater adoption of virtue theory in medicine will be accompanied by a corresponding backward-looking social agenda. Worse yet, does reaffirmation of virtue theory lacquer over the many challenges of the postmodern world view as if these were not serious concerns? After all, recreating the past is the “retro” temptation of our times. Searching for greater certitude than we can now obtain preoccupies most thinkers today. One wishes for the old clarity and certitudes (Engelhardt, 1991). On the other hand, the same thinkers who yearn for the past, like Engelhardt sometimes seems to do, might stress the unyielding gulf between past and present that creates the postmodern reaction to all systems of Enlightenment thought (1996).
For undergraduate/graduate-level courses in Medical Sociology, Sociology of Health, Medical Ethics, Bioethics. This reader features essays by leading medical sociologists/anthropologists and medical ethicists who consider the full range of cultural, economic, and social dimensions of bioethics This is the first text to view the field of bioethics from a sociological viewpoint exploring how and why bioethics came to be a player in American medicine. Cutting-edge in perspective, it provides a firsthand look at how a new discipline and its practitioners emerge, and provides a model for applying sociology to a field of medicine. The book is useful to students of medical sociology and medical ethics.