Naturalized bioethics represents a revolutionary change in how health care ethics is practised. It calls for bioethicists to give up their dependence on utilitarianism and other ideal moral theories and instead to move toward a self-reflexive, socially inquisitive, politically critical, and inclusive ethics. Wary of idealisations that bypass social realities, the naturalism in ethics that is developed in this volume is empirically nourished and acutely aware that ethical theory is the practice of particular people in particular times, places, cultures, and (...) professional environments. These essays situate the bioethicist within the clinical or research context, take seriously the web of relationships in which all human beings are nested, and explore a number of the different kinds of power relations that inform health care encounters. Naturalized Bioethics aims to help bioethicists, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, disability studies scholars, medical researchers, and other health professionals address the ethical issues surrounding health care. (shrink)
The authority of surrogates—often close family members—to make treatment decisions for previously capacitated patients is said to come from their knowledge of the patient, which they are to draw on as they exercise substituted judgment on the patient’s behalf. However, proxy accuracy studies call this authority into question, hence the Patient Preference Predictor (PPP). We identify two problems with contemporary understandings of the surrogate’s role. The first is with the assumption that knowledge of the patient entails knowledge of what the (...) patient’s choice of treatment would be. The second is with the assumption that a good decision reproduces the content of that choice. If we are right, then the PPP, helpful though it might be in guiding surrogates’ decisions, nevertheless would hold them to the wrong standards and in that way could add to, rather than relieve, the stress they experience as they try to do their job. (shrink)
This book explores the social practice of holding each other in our identities, beginning with pregnancy and on through the life span. Lindemann argues that our identities give us our sense of how to act and how to treat others, and that the ways in which we we hold each other in them is of crucial moral importance.
When the benefits of surgery do not outweigh the harms or where they do not clearly do so, surgical interventions become morally contested. Cutting to the Core examines a number of such surgeries, including infant male circumcision and cutting the genitals of female children, the separation of conjoined twins, surgical sex assignment of intersex children and the surgical re-assignment of transsexuals, limb and face transplantation, cosmetic surgery, and placebo surgery.
Starting from the intuition, shared by many women, that the legal right to an abortion must be defended but that they themselves could never undergo one, I offer an account of why pregnancy is morally valuable and why, nevertheless, it is often permissible to end one. Developing the idea that human pregnancy centrally involves the activity of calling a fetus into personhood, I argue that the permissibility of stopping this activity hinges on the goodness or badness of one's moral luck.
Daniel Brudney's clear-headed analysis, in this issue of the Hastings Center Report, of the difference between a patient's and a surrogate's right to make medical treatment decisions contributes to a longstanding conversation in bioethics. Brudney offers an epistemological and a moral argument for the patient's and the surrogate's right to decide. The epistemological argument is the same for both parties: the patient has a right to decide because she is presumed to know her own interests better than anyone else, and (...) the surrogate is entitled to make decisions because she knows the patient better than anyone else. However, argues Brudney, the moral arguments are not parallel. The patient's moral right to decide for herself is an exercise of autonomy, but the only ground for the responsibility held by the surrogate, says Brudney, is that she knows the patient better than the health care professionals do. If in fact that's not the case, then she forfeits her right to be the patient's surrogate. For all the clarity and force of his argument, I think Brudney may be barking up the wrong tree. In cases of proxy decision-making, it's intimacy, not knowledge, that does the heavy moral lifting. (shrink)
In an age of global capitalism, pandemics, far-flung biobanks, multinational drug trials and telemedicine it is impossible for bioethicists to ignore the global dimensions of their field. However, if they are to do good work on the issues that globalisation requires of them, they need theoretical resources that are up to the task. This paper identifies four distinct understandings of ‘globalised’ in the bioethics literature: a focus on global issues; an attempt to develop a universal ethical theory that can transcend (...) cultural differences; an awareness of how bioethics itself has expanded, with new centres and journals emerging in nearly every corner of the globe; a concern to avoid cultural imperialism in encounters with other societies. Each of these approaches to globalisation has some merit, as will be shown. The difficulty with them is that the standard theoretical tools on which they rely are not designed for cross-cultural ethical reflection. As a result, they leave important considerations hidden. A set of theoretical resources is proposed to deal with the moral puzzles of globalisation. Abandoning idealised moral theory, a normative framework is developed that is sensitive enough to account for differences without losing the broader context in which ethical issues arise. An empirically nourished, self-reflexive, socially inquisitive, politically critical and inclusive ethics allows bioethicists the flexibility they need to pick up on the morally relevant particulars of this situation here without losing sight of the broader cultural contexts in which it all takes place. (shrink)
I argue that the field of bioethics is gendered feminine, but that the methods it uses to resist this gender identity pose real harm to actual women. Starting with an explanation of what I take ?gender? to be, I enumerate four drawbacks to being gendered feminine. I then argue that bioethics suffers from three of the same four drawbacks. I show how the field escapes the fourth disadvantage by adopting a masculine persona that inflicts damage on women, and conclude by (...) urging bioethicists to reflect on their complicity in abusive power systems such as gender, race and class. (shrink)
Medicine and families, two venerable institutions crucial to human well-being, are in crisis. The medical profession, struggling to control and equitably distribute care, finds itself compromised by its own success; families are shattered by divorce, violence and confusion about their own nature. What has gone unnoticed is the way these two powerful and pervasive spheres contribute to each other's loss of direction. The Patient in the Family diagnoses the ways in which the worlds of home and hospital misunderstand each other. (...) The authors explore how medicine, through its new reproductive technologies, is altering the structure of families, how families can participate more fully in medical decision-making, and how to understand the impact on families when medical advances extend life but not vitality . This book takes an unprecedented perspective on both institutions. Innovative and vivid, their stories tell the tales of families interacting with the medical establishment. (shrink)
When I accidentally fell into the job of Associate Editor at the Hastings Center Report, I soon learned that one of my duties was to copyedit the case studies that the Report publishes on a regular basis. The Hastings Center being the kind of institution it is, as I edited the essays, I also imbibed a good deal of bioethics. I began to publish scholarly articles and coauthor a book, all under the mentorship of Dan Callahan and the Center's other (...) associates. Joe Fins, then the Associate for Medicine, patiently answered all my many questions about ethical issues surrounding the doctor-patient relationship; Susan Wolf, the Associate for Law, taught me some classic court cases, starting with Schloendorff; and Jamie... (shrink)