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Glenn McGee

Glenn McGee is Professor of Medical Ethics, Philosophy, and History and Sociology of Science; Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania; and a Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of the Wharton School of Business. He is the editor of The American Journal of Bioethics (MIT Press) and the coeditor, with Arthur Caplan, of the MIT Press Basic Bioethics series.

Titles by This Editor

Reflections on Health and Beneficence

Definitions of health and disease are of more than theoretical interest. Understanding what it means to be healthy has implications for choices in medical treatment, for ethically sound informed consent, and for accurate assessment of policies or programs. This deeper understanding can help us create more effective public policy for health and medicine. It is notable that such contentious legal initiatives as the Americans with Disability Act and the Patients' Bill of Rights fail to define adequately the medical terms on which their effectiveness depends. In Ethics and the Metaphysics of Medicine, Kenneth Richman develops an "embedded instrumentalist" theory of health and applies it to practical problems in health care and medicine, addressing topics that range from the philosophy of science to knee surgery.

"Embedded instrumentalist" theories hold that health is a match between one's goals and one's ability to reach those goals, and that the relevant goals may vary from individual to individual. This captures the normative implications of the term health while avoiding problematic relativism. Richman's embedded instrumentalism differs from other theories of health in drawing a distinction between the health of individuals as biological organisms and the health of individuals as moral agents. This distinction illuminates many difficulties in patient-provider communication and helps us understand conflicts between promoting health and promoting ethically permissible behavior. After exploring, expanding, and defending this theory in the first part of the book, Richman examines its ethical implications, discussing such concerns as the connection between medical beneficence and respect for autonomy, patient-provider communication, living wills, and clinical education.

Edited by Glenn McGee

Modern scientific and medical advances bring new complexity and urgency to ethical issues in health care and biomedical research. This book applies the American philosophical theory of pragmatism to such bioethics. Critics of pragmatism argue that it lacks a universal moral foundation. Yet it is this very lack of a metaphysical dividing line between facts and values that makes pragmatism such a rigorous and appropriate method for solving problems in bioethics. For pragmatism, ethics is a way of satisfying the complex demands of multiple individuals and groups in a contingent and changing world. Pragmatism also demands careful attention to the ways in which scientific advances change our values and ethics.The essays in this book present different approaches to pragmatism and different ways of applying pragmatism to scientific and medical matters. They use pragmatism to guide thinking about such timely topics as stem cell research, human cloning, genetic testing, human enhancement, and care for the poor and aging. This new edition contains three new chapters, on difficulties with applying pragmatism to law and bioethics, on helping people to die, and on embryonic stem cell research.