Bioethics in Historical Perspective

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9781403987235: Bioethics in Historical Perspective
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How influential has the Nazi analogy been in recent medical debates on euthanasia? Is the history of eugenics being revived in modern genetic technologies? And what does the tragic history of thalidomide and its recent reintroduction for new medical treatments tell us about how governments solve ethical dilemmas?

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This thoroughly researched and balanced introduction to bioethics discourse and its historical foundations deserves a wide readership beyond those who are interested in medical science. Students of the history of medicine, politics, the pharma industry, and social and philosophical ethics will equally benefit from reading the book. – Catherine Hezser, SOAS, University of London, UK in LSE Review of Books

While historians have charted how bioethics has been shaped by local social or political contexts, no one has yet analysed how readings of the past also make an important contribution to bioethical thought. Ferber does not simply analyse how various actors use history, moreover, but is also prepared to critique it. ... Future historians of bioethics ... will undoubtedly find Bioethics in Historical Perspective an invaluable starting point for their research and teaching. – Duncan Wilson, University of Manchester UK in Social History of Medicine

Ferber (Univ. of Wollongong, Australia) presents a thorough yet approachable introduction to the interdisciplinary field of bioethics through a historical lens. The author effectively balances the historical context of such core topics as the origins of bioethics with insightful commentary on how the disciplinary backgrounds of key players, such as Beauchamp's utilitarianism and Childress's deontology, influenced practitioners' ethical approaches. Key issues, including the history of euthanasia and its connections to the Nazis, eugenics, research on human subjects, and thalidomide, are presented thoughtfully, through approaches that emphasize multiple angles of scholarship to provoke discussions across disciplinary boundaries. This concise volume is readily accessible to readers of all backgrounds and offers substantive information relevant to scholars and practitioners in biomedicine, bioethics, health policy, and science studies fields. It is excellent introductory reading for graduate students and professionals/practitioners seeking a background survey of the field. It can also serve as a primary orienting text in undergraduate courses, touching on case studies that could be explored through other sources in more depth. Interested scholars from history or social sciences will find this a solid introductory resource as well. Summing Up: Highly recommended. *** Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers. – S. M. Weiss, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA

Each chapter in Bioethics in Historical Perspective is rich and nuanced, and historians, social scientists and bioethicists can learn a lot from it... There is much more to learn from this fascinating book than I could cover here. I recommend it warmly to scholars in the field, and it will also be a useful textbook fora historically aware course on bioethics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. – Richard Ashcroft, Queen Mary University of London, UK in New Genetics and Society

Book Description:

An invaluable introduction to contemporary bioethics which incorporates historical and broader cultural approaches, appealing and relevant to students and practitioners alike

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