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.
About the Editor
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.
"Pragmatic ethics is our best hope to provide morally satisfying answers to the complex questions of a contingent and changing world. This volume approaches medicine's major moral dilemmas in a way that can help citizens work with policymakers to develop medical systems, structures, guidelines, and codes that serve the interests of most of the people most of the time. What an accomplishment!"
—Rosemarie Tong, Distinguished Professor of Health Care Ethics, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
"This book provides the first extensive look at how the challenges encountered in the clinical research and policy environments can be framed in a systematic way using a philosophical approach that is sure to inspire debate and discussion for some time. This is precisely what a pragmatic approach to bioethics ought to be doing."
—Eric M. Meslin, Director, Indiana University Center for Bioethics, Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Bioethics, Indiana University School of Medicine, and Professor of Philosophy, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts