Bioethics : An Introduction

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Providing readers with the confidence needed to debate key issues in bioethics, this introductory text clearly explains bioethical theories and their philosophical foundations. Over 250 activities introduce topics for personal reflection, and discussion points encourage students to think for themselves and build their own arguments. Highlighting the potential pitfalls for those new to bioethics, each chapter features boxes providing factual information and outlining the philosophical background, along with detailed case studies that offer an insight into real-life examples of bioethical problems. Within-chapter essay questions and quizzes, along with end-of-chapter review questions, allow students to check their understanding and to broaden their thinking about the topics discussed. The accompanying podcasts by the author (two of whose podcasts on iTunesU(TM) have attracted over 3 million downloads) explain points that might be difficult for beginners. These, along with a range of extra resources for students and instructors, are available at
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Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 54 b/w illus. 1 table 233 exercises
  • 113904723X
  • 9781139047234

Review quote

'This book is an excellent, unique and comprehensive resource for either an undergraduate or a graduate course. With its wonderful introduction into ethical theory and a multifaceted approach, it is an incomparable resource for the successful teaching of bioethics. The author's eloquent writing ... carefully examines practically every aspect of [this] exciting interdisciplinary [field] ... a valuable reading of interest for both students and scholar[s], alike.' Mirjana Brockett, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 'I do not know of a better introduction and I suspect that it may become the standard text for years to come. It aims to give a sound introduction to people who have had little or no experience of ethics or philosophy, and it does so in a lively, rich and very readable way. Most important of all, it tries to engender a genuinely philosophical approach: fair-minded, rational and critical ... a freshness and clarity that will stimulate thinking and discussion even amongst the most jaded students ... I feel confident that nurses with the skills of reasoning and the fairness of mind that Bioethics: An Introduction is designed to provide will bring credit to themselves, to their patients and to the health services within which they work.' Nursing Philosophy
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About Marianne Talbot

Marianne Talbot has been Director of Studies in Philosophy at Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education since 2001, where she is responsible for the university's lifelong learning in philosophy. Talbot pioneered Oxford's popular online short courses and has more recently specialised in teaching ethics to scientists. She teaches ethics for doctoral training centres in Oxford and in London and has trained the EPSCR itself in ethics.
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Table of contents

Preface; Using this book; Notes for instructors; Part I. Bioethics and Ethics: 1. Biotechnology and bioethics: what it's all about; 2. Ethics in general: ethics, action and freedom; 3. Ethics in the context of society: ethics, society and the law; 4. Ethical theories: virtue, duty and happiness; 5. Identifying and evaluating arguments: logic and morality; 6. General arguments: unnatural, disgusting, risky, only opinion; Part II. The Beginning and End of Life; Section 1. Cloning: 7. Therapeutic cloning: the moral status of embryos; 8. Reproductive cloning: science and science fiction; Section 2. Reproduction: 9. Reproductive freedom: rights, responsibilities and choice; 10. The resources of reproduction: eggs, sperm and wombs for sale; 11. Screening and embryo selection: eliminating disorders or people?; Section 3. Ageing and Death: 12. Ageing and immortality: the search for longevity; 13. Death and killing: the quality and value of life; Part III. In the Midst of Life; Section 1. Our Duties to Ourselves: 14. Human enhancement: the more the better?; 15. Bio-information: databases, privacy and the fight against crime; 16. Security and defence: security sensitivity, publication and warfare; Section 2. Our Duties to Each Other: 17. Food and energy security: GM food, biofuel and the media; 18. Bio-ownership: who owns the stuff of life?; 19. Human justice: the developed and developing worlds; Section 3. Our Duties to Nature: 20. Non-human animals: consciousness, rationality and animal rights; 21. The living and non-living environment: spaceship Earth; Index.
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