This edition represents a thorough-going revision of what has become a classic text in biomedical ethics. Major structural changes mark the revision. The authors have added a new concluding chapter on methods that, along with its companion chapter on moral theory, emphasizes convergence across theories, coherence in moral justification, and the common morality. They have simplified the opening chapter on moral norms which introduces the framework of prima facie moral principles and ways to specify and balance them. Together with the (...) shift of advanced material on theory to the back of the book, this heavily revised introductory chapter will make it easier for the wide range of students entering bioethics courses to use this text. Another important change is the increased emphasis on character and moral agency, drawing the distinction between agents and actions. The sections on truth telling, disclosure of bad news, privacy, conflicts of interest, and research on human subjects have also been throughly reworked. The four core chapters on principles and the chapter on professional-patient relationships retain their familiar structure, but the authors have completely updated their content to reflect developments in philosophical analysis as well as in research, medicine, and health care. Throughout, they have used a number of actual cases to illuminate and to test their theory, method, and framework of principles. (shrink)
The practice of obtaining informed consent has its history in, and gains its meaning from, medicine and biomedical research. Discussions of disclosure and justified nondisclosure have played a significant role throughout the history of medical ethics, but the term “informed consent” emerged only in the 1950s. Serious discussion of the meaning and ethics of informed consent began in medicine, research, law, and philosophy only around 1972.
: Phenomena of moral conflict and disagreement have led writers in ethics to two antithetical conclusions: Either valid moral distinctions hold universally or they hold relative to a particular and contingent moral framework, and so cannot be applied with universal validly. Responding to three articles in this issue of the Journal that criticize his previously published views on the common morality, the author maintains that one can consistently deny universality to some justified moral norms and claim universality for others. Universality (...) is located in the common morality and nonuniversality in other parts of the moral life, called "particular moralities." The existence of universal moral standards is defended in terms of: (1) a theory of the objectives of morality, (2) an account of the norms that achieve those objectives, and (3) an account of normative justification (both pragmatic and coherentist). (shrink)
The distinction between clinical research and clinical practice directs how we partition medicine and biomedical science. Reasons for a sharp distinction date historically to the work of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, especially to its analysis of the “boundaries” between research and practice in the Belmont Report (1978). Belmont presents a segregation model of the research-practice distinction, according to which research and practice form conceptually exclusive sets of activities and interventions. This (...) model is still the standard in federal regulations today. However, the Commission’s deliberations and conclusions about the boundaries are more complicated, nuanced, and instructive than has generally been appreciated. The National Commission did not conclude that practice needs no oversight comparable to the regulation of research. It debated the matter and inclined to the view that the oversight of practice needed to be upgraded, though the Commission stopped short of proposing new regulations for its oversight, largely for prudential political reasons. (shrink)
To address some questions in global biomedical ethics, three problems about cultural moral differences and alleged differences in Eastern and Western cultures are addressed: The first is whether the East has fundamentally different moral traditions from those in the West. Concentrating on Japan and the United States, it is argued that theses of profound and fundamental East-West differences are dubious because of many forms of shared morality. The second is whether human rights theory is a Western invention with no firm (...) traditions in Eastern moral traditions. It is argued that this thesis is unsupported both historically and in contemporary bioethics. The third problem is whether multiculturalist theory casts doubt on claims of universal principles and rights. It is argued that the reverse is true: multiculturalism is a universalistic theory. The argument throughout supports common morality theory. (shrink)
This accessible overview of classical and modern moral theory with short readings provides comprehensive coverage of ethics and unique coverage of rights, justice, liberty and law. Real-life cases introduce each chapter. While the book's content is theoretical rather than applied ethics, Beauchamp consistently applies the theories to practical moral problems. Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Mill are at the book;s core and they are placed in the context of moral philosophical controversies of the last 30 years. In this edition one-third of (...) the reading selections are new and all the selections in chapter 8 on rights are new. Chapter 7 on Hume has been heavily reshaped. Chapter 1 has been reduced to get students past introductory material and into the philosophers. (shrink)
Affirmative action refers to positive steps taken to hire persons from groups previously and presently discriminated against. Considerable evidence indicates that this discrimination is intractable and cannot be eliminated by the enforcement of laws. Numerical goals and quotas are justified if and only if they are necessary to overcome the discriminatory effects that could not otherwise be eliminated with reasonable efficiency. Many past as well as present policies are justified in this way.
In the relatively short time since 2006—when Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics published an issue on moral issues relevant to the use of nonhuman animals in research —significant changes have occurred for nonhuman animals in many quarters. Public sentiment, new policy initiatives, and scientific studies of nonhuman animals’ capacities have all influenced the ways in which nonhuman animals are perceived and treated in research. Today, a large body of information is available for use in decision making about the acceptability of using (...) nonhuman animals in research. The articles in this issue assess how moral argument and empirical studies stand to guide animal research policies and practices in future years.Many in bioethics have come to regard issues of animal research as a subfield of research ethics, bringing it closer to human research ethics. Animal ethics, like public health ethics, has struggled for recognition in bioethics. As the contributions to this issue show, some in bioe. (shrink)
Discussions of research involving vulnerable populations have left the homeless comparatively ignored. Participation by these subjects in drug studies has the potential to be upsetting, inconvenient, or unpleasant. Participation occasionally produces injury, health emergencies, and chronic health problems. Nonetheless, no ethical justification exists for the categorical exclusion of homeless persons from research. The appropriate framework for informed consent for these subjects of pharmaceutical research is not a single event of oral or written consent, but a multi-staged arrangement of disclosure, dialogue, (...) and permission-giving. Payments and other rewards in biomedical research raise issues of whether it is ethical to offer inducements to the homeless in exchange for participation in drug studies. Such inducements can influence desperate persons who are seriously lacking in resources. The key is to strike a balance between a rate of payment high enough that it does not exploit subjects by underpayment and low enough that it does not create an irresistible inducement. This proposal does not underestimate the risks of research, which are often overestimated and need to be appraised in light of the relevant empirical literature. (shrink)
What grounds and justifies conclusions in medical ethics? Is the source external or internal to medicine? Thee influential types of answer have appeared in recent literature: an internal account, an external account, and a mixed internal / external account. The first defends an ethic derived from either the ends of medicine or professional practice standards. The second maintains that precepts in medical ethics rely upon and require justification by external standards such as those of public opinion, law, religious ethics, or (...) philosophical ethics. The third claims that distinct medical ethics have emerged from distinct cultural frameworks, each with norms that govern physicians. There is merit in each perspective, but each overreaches its supporting arguments and fails to appreciate what is legitimate in the theses of its competitors. I propose a fourth account that offers a way to escape limitations of the other three, while retaining their most attractive features. (shrink)
: The belief persists in philosophy, religion, science, and popular culture that some special cognitive property of persons like self-consciousness confers a unique moral standing. However, no set of cognitive properties confers moral standing, and metaphysical personhood is not sufficient for either moral personhood or moral standing. Cognitive theories all fail to capture the depth of commitments embedded in using the language of "person." It is more assumed than demonstrated in these theories that nonhuman animals lack a relevant form of (...) self-consciousness or its functional equivalent. Although nonhuman animals are not plausible candidates for moral personhood, humans too fail to qualify as moral persons if they lack one or more of the conditions of moral personhood. If moral personhood were the sole basis of moral rights, then these humans would lack rights--and precisely for the reasons that nonhuman animals would. (shrink)
On December 15, 2011, a final report was issued by the Committee on the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which had been convened by the U. S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) in collaboration with National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies. Within a month of its release, this report was designated by Wired Science one of the “top scientific discoveries of 2011” (Wired Science Staff 2011). The ad hoc Committee responsible for this report was formed at (...) the request of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in response to congressional inquiry that had been prompted by expressions of public concern.1 The issues addressed in the report are profoundly ethical, despite NIH’s .. (shrink)
Animals have moral standing; that is, they have properties (including the ability to feel pain) that qualify them for the protections of morality. It follows from this that humans have moral obligations toward animals, and because rights are logically correlative to obligations, animals have rights.
Literature on the mental capacities and cognitive mechanisms of the great apes has been silent about whether they can act autonomously. This paper provides a philosophical theory of autonomy supported by psychological studies of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie chimpanzee behavior to argue that chimpanzees can act autonomously even though their psychological mechanisms differ from those of humans. Chimpanzees satisfy the two basic conditions of autonomy: (1) liberty (the absence of controlling influences) and (2) agency (self-initiated intentional action), each of (...) which is specified here in terms of conditions of understanding, intention, and self-control. In this account, chimpanzees make knowledge-based choices reflecting a richly information-based and socially sophisticated understanding of the world. Finally, two major theories of autonomy (Kantian theory and two-level theory) are rejected as too narrow to adequately address these issues, necessitating the modifications made in the present approach. (shrink)
Hume wrote about fundamental similarities and dissimilarities between human and nonhuman animals. His work was centered on the cognitive and emotional lives of animals, rather than their moral or legal standing, but his theories have implications for issues of moral standing. The historical background of these controversies reaches to ancient philosophy and to several prominent figures in early modern philosophy. Hume develops several of the themes in this literature. His underlying method is analogical arg ument and his conclusions are generally (...) favorable regarding the abilities in animals. Hume does not attribute a moral sense or capacity of judgment to animals, but he does suggest that their actions exhibit moral qualities, such as other-regarding instincts. Hume allows in-kind differences in both demonstrative reason and moral judgment, but in the domains of both causal reason and moral agency he believes there are differences of degree rather than of kind. Hume's most significant philosophical contribution was to move as far as anyone before him to a naturalistic explanation of human and nonhuman minds that invited psychological and epistemological examination of minds by using the identical methods and categories for man and beast. (shrink)
Emily Largent, Steven Joffe, and Franklin Miller offer a stimulating contribution to the literature on integrating medical research and practice. We agree on both the need to move toward what the Institute of Medicine has called a learning health care system and the need for new conceptions for integrating research and practice within it. We also agree with the authors’ view, first advanced by Robert Truog and colleagues in 1999, that it can be ethically acceptable to randomize patients without express (...) consent in trials comparing widely used, approved interventions that pose no additional risk. With appropriate oversight, learning health care systems ought to conduct such trials on a regular basis. Our .. (shrink)
Tom Beauchamp presents a new edition, designed especially for the student reader, of An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, the classic work in which David Hume gave a general exposition of his philosophy to a broad educated readership. An authoritative new version of the text is preceded by a substantial introduction explaining the historical and intellectual background to the work and surveying its main themes. The volume also includes detailed explanatory notes on the text, a glossary of terms, and a section (...) of supplementary readings. (shrink)