READINGS IN BIOETHICS by Thomas A.--Ed. Shannon


Email this review


Bioethics--the study of moral issues raised by the life sciences (particularly medicine)--is a burgeoning field, and this reader demonstrates some of its fascination. It deals with complex, concrete, and unavoidable problems on the ethical frontier: must pacifists oppose abortion? should handicapped newborns live? can man be improved genetically? are placebos ethical? Since scientific discovery keeps expanding and the social and cultural situations are always changing, there are always fresh questions and they remain demandingly interdisciplinary. And for Christians, espedally Catholics, there is also spirited debate about natural law, the authority of the Church, and how best to balance principle and practice. Assembled by a Catholic theologian but hardly sectarian, tiffs collection offers a variety of articulate and often competing perspectives on such standard bioethical topics as abortion, severely handicapped children, death and dying, experimentation on human beings, genetic engineering, allocating medical resources, and behavior modification. The contributors represent a good mix of Catholic moralists (e.g., Callahan, McCormick, Maguire), Protestant theologians (Gustafson, Fletcher, Outka), and medical doctors (Kass, Gaylin, Rutstein); most positions are clearly and forcefully argued, although little consensus emerges. Would that the abortion debate could be thus broadened and elevated.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1976
Publisher: Paulist