A Matter of Principles?

A Matter of Principles? : Ferment in U.S. Bioethics

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Bioethics today has become a subject of wide public concern. Almost every one of its tenets is being seriously questioned and likely to be reformulated. Moreover, the pressure on bioethics continues to mount as the number of moral conflicts that buffet our society increases. What, then, will bioethics look like a decade from now?In the variety of approaches that have been employed in the practice of bioethics, one has dominated in the United States in the last decade and a half. That approach is "principlism", the use of moral principles to address theoretical issues and to resolve conflicts at the bedside.Recently, however, bioethicists and others increasingly have realized the limitations of principlism and are calling for the development of alternative approaches such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, narrative ethics, casuistry, and virtue ethics.This book maps the debate over principlism and the future direction of U.S. bioethics. Part One consists of a sociological description of U.S. bioethics at the beginning of the 1990s, along with a defense of principlism by one of its major proponents. Part Two maps cross-cultural critiques of principlism, while Part Three covers five alternatives to it. Three essays in Part Four - by a bioethicist, a physician, and a theologian - reflect on the future of U.S. bioethics, principlism, and its alternatives. The Afterword emphasizes the place of religion and theological discourse in the alternative approaches and in the future of bioethics.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 381 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 33.02mm | 839.14g
  • Continuum International Publishing Group - Trinity
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1563380811
  • 9781563380815

Back cover copy

Bioethics today has become a subject of wide public concern. Almost every one of its tenets is being seriously questioned and likely to be reformulated. Moreover, the pressure on bioethics continues to mount as the number of moral conflicts that buffet our society increases. What, then, will bioethics look like a decade from now? In the variety of approaches that have been employed in the practice of bioethics, one has dominated in the United States in the last decade and a half. That approach is "principlism", the use of moral principles to address theoretical issues and to resolve conflicts at the bedside. Recently, however, bioethicists and others increasingly have realized the limitations of principlism and are calling for the development of alternative approaches such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, narrative ethics, casuistry, and virtue ethics. This book maps the debate over principlism and the future direction of U.S. bioethics. Part One consists of a sociological description of U.S. bioethics at the beginning of the 1990s, along with a defense of principlism by one of its major proponents. Part Two maps cross-cultural critiques of principlism, while Part Three covers five alternatives to it. Three essays in Part Four - by a bioethicist, a physician, and a theologian - reflect on the future of U.S. bioethics, principlism, and its alternatives. The Afterword emphasizes the place of religion and theological discourse in the alternative approaches and in the future of bioethics.
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