Bioethics at the Movies

Johns Hopkins University Press (2009)

Abstract

Bioethics at the Movies explores the ways in which popular films engage basic bioethical concepts and concerns. Twenty philosophically grounded essays use cinematic tools such as character and plot development, scene-setting, and narrative-framing to demonstrate a range of principles and topics in contemporary medical ethics. The first section plumbs popular and bioethical thought on birth, abortion, genetic selection, and personhood through several films, including The Cider House Rules, Citizen Ruth, Gattaca, and I, Robot. In the second section, the contributors examine medical practice and troubling questions about the quality and commodification of life by way of Dirty Pretty Things, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and other movies. The third section's essays use Million Dollar Baby, Critical Care, Big Fish, and Soylent Green to show how the medical profession and society at large view issues related to aging, death, and dying. A final section makes use of Extreme Measures and select Spanish and Japanese films to discuss two foundational matters in bioethics: the role of theories and principles in medicine and the importance of cultural context in devising care. Structured to mirror bioethics and cinema classes, this innovative work includes end-of-chapter questions for further consideration and contributions from scholars from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, Spain, and Australia. Contributors: Robert Arp, Ph.D., Michael C. Brannigan, Ph.D., Matthew Burstein, Ph.D., Antonio Casado da Rocha, Ph.D., Stephen Coleman, Ph.D., Jason T. Eberl, Ph.D., Paul J. Ford, Ph.D., Helen Frowe, M.A., Colin Gavaghan, Ph.D., Richard Hanley, Ph.D., Nancy Hansen, Ph.D., Al-Yasha Ilhaam, Ph.D., Troy Jollimore, Ph.D., Amy Kind, Ph.D., Zana Marie Lutfiyya, Ph.D., Terrance McConnell, Ph.D., Andy Miah, Ph.D., Nathan Norbis, Ph.D., Kenneth Richman, Ph.D., Karen D. Schwartz, LL.B., M.A., Sandra Shapshay, Ph.D., Daniel Sperling, LL.M., S.J.D., Becky Cox White, R.N., Ph.D., Clark Wolf, Ph.D

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Sandra Shapshay
Hunter College (CUNY)

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