Thursday, December 13, 2007

User Guide: The Ethics of Bioethics

Stem cell research. Drug company influence. Abortion. Contraception. Long-term and end-of-life care. Human participants research. Informed consent. The list of ethical issues in science, medicine, and public health is long and continually growing. These complex issues pose a daunting task for professionals in the expanding field of bioethics. But what of the practice of bioethics itself? What issues do ethicists and bioethicists confront in their efforts to facilitate sound moral reasoning and judgment in a variety of venues? Are those immersed in the field capable of making the right decisions? How and why do they face moral challenge -- and even compromise -- as ethicists? What values should guide them?

In The Ethics of Bioethics, Lisa A. Eckenwiler and Felicia G. Cohn tackle these questions head on, bringing together notable medical ethicists and people outside the discipline to discuss common criticisms, the field's inherent tensions, and efforts to assign values and assess success. Through twenty-five lively essays examining the field's history and trends, shortcomings and strengths, and the political and policy interplay within the bioethical realm, this comprehensive book begins a much-needed critical and constructive discussion of the moral landscape of bioethics. "The Ethics of Bioethics is a milestone in the field of bioethics. It brings together all the right people, asking all the right questions and proposing answers to meet the challenges of our time. Anyone who is paid to do work in bioethics -- and, for that matter, anyone who takes bioethical inquiry seriously -- will need to read this book and engage the issues it raises." -- Matthew Wynia, Past-President, American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (from the book description.)

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