Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
Principles of Biomedical Ethics / Edition 6

Principles of Biomedical Ethics / Edition 6

by Tom L. Beauchamp, James F. Childress
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Principles of Biomedical Ethics provides a highly original, practical, and insightful guide to morality in the health professions. Acclaimed authors Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress thoroughly develop and advocate for four principles that lie at the core of moral reasoning in health care: respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice. Drawing from contemporary research—and integrating detailed case studies and vivid real-life examples and scenarios—they demonstrate how these prima facie principles can be expanded to apply to various conflicts and dilemmas, from how to deliver bad news to whether or not to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments.

Ideal for courses in biomedical ethics, bioethics, and health care ethics, the text is enhanced by hundreds of annotated citations and a substantial introduction that clarifies key terms and concepts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195335705
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/23/2008
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Tom L. Beauchamp is Professor of Philosophy and Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.

James F. Childress is University Professor & John Allen Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics at the University of Virginia.

Table of Contents

1. Moral Norms
Normative and Nonnormative Ethics
The Common Morality as Universal Morality
Particular Moralities as Nonuniversal
Moral Dilemmas
A Framework of Moral Principles
Conflicting Moral Norms
2. Moral Character
The Concept of Moral Virtue
Virtues in Professional Roles
The Central Virtue of Caring
Five Focal Virtues
Moral Ideals
Moral Excellence
3. Moral Status
The Problem of Moral Status
Theories of Moral Status
From Theories to Practical Guidelines
The Moral Significance of Moral Status
Vulnerable Populations and Vulnerable Individuals
4. Respect for Autonomy
The Concept of Autonomy and the Principle of Respect for Autonomy
The Capacity for Autonomous Choice
The Meaning and Justification of Informed Consent
Surrogate Decision Making for Nonautonomous Patients
5. Nonmaleficence
The Concept and Principle of Nonmaleficence
Distinctions and Rules Governing Nontreatment Decisions
Optional Treatments and Obligatory Treatments
Killing and Letting Die
Intentionally Arranged Deaths: When, If Ever, Are They Justified?
Protecting Incompetent Patients from Harm
Whose Risks and Whose Benefits? Problems of Underprotection and Overprotection in Research
6. Beneficence
The Concept of Beneficence and Principles of Beneficence
Obligatory Beneficence and Ideal Beneficence
Paternalism: Conflicts between Beneficence and Respect for Autonomy
Balancing Benefits, Costs, and Risks
The Value and Quality of Life
7. Justice
The Concept of Justice and Principles of Justice
Traditional Theories of Justice
Two Theories Closely Connected to the Value of Health
Fair Opportunity and Unfair Discrimination
Vulnerability, Exploitation, and Discrimination in Research
National Health Policy and the Right to Health Care
Global Health Policy and the Right to Health
Allocating, Setting Priorities, and Rationing
8. Professional-Patient Relationships
The Distinction between Clinical Ethics and Research Ethics
9. Moral Theories
Criteria for Assessing Moral Theories
Utilitarian Theory
Kantian Theory
Rights Theory
Virtue Theory
The Convergence of Theories on Principles
10. Method and Moral Justification
Justification in Ethics
Top-Down Models: Theory and Application
Bottom-Up Models: Cases and Analogical Reasoning
An Integrated Model: Reflective Equilibrium
Common-Morality Theory

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Principles of Biomedical Ethics 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
vegetarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The 1979 version of this classic of principlism sought to integrate ethical theory with disciplined, self-conscious medical practice through principles of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was required for my Bachelor's program. It was confusingly written, with no clear definitions of terms. Quite honestly, I question the authors knowledge of medical practice; they constantly referred to mechanical ventilators as "respirators." There is no such machine. If they got this basic fact wrong, what else are they incorrect about? They did offer some compelling examples, but the bulk of the book had to be read and reread to try and discern what they were trying to say. Awful.
Raed More than 1 year ago
While they address all relevant issues regarding biomedical ethics, their reasoning is mainly just opinions. They argue their points well but tend to write in circles, making up many terms and ideas to support their logic. I would never recommend this to anyone. This book was required reading for my graduate degree. How can you write about what ethics and morals are "right?" They do and take the assumption that the right way to think is theirs. One's ethics do not change after reading this, but they do assume that is what should happen. It is written in a very difficult style. You have to re-read paragraphs to understand their reasoning. They should have organized their chapters better or at least provide outlines. Plus their opinions are not realistic because they do not consider many aspects of healthcare like the numerous professions involved, politics, lawyers, insurnace, business principles, costs and actual laws.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
Tom Beauchamp, of Georgetown University, and James Childress, of the University of Virginia, have produced a splendid sixth edition of their classic book on biomedical ethics. Throughout, the authors sensitively discuss real life dilemmas. Part 1 looks at moral foundations: moral norms, moral character and moral status. Part 2 studies what the authors define as the four key moral principles, general norms of our common morality: respect for autonomy, doing no harm, beneficence and justice. Part 3 examines moral theories and moral justification. They argue that there is not just one supreme moral value, a single absolute yardstick to solve every ethical problem. They write, "The problems of bioethics are often problems of getting just the right specification or balance of principles. Principles should never be conceived as trumps that allow them alone to determine a right outcome. . rights, like all principles and rules of obligation, are prima facie (i.e., presumptively) valid claims that sometimes must yield to other claims." To aid our moral deliberation and decision-making, we need to consider our actions or inactions in regard to dilemmas in the light of each of the principles. "Principles need to be made specific for cases, and case analysis needs illumination from general principles." Putting the four principles of bioethics into practice results in moral behaviour. The authors argue that respect for autonomy is not necessarily individualistic, rationalist or legalistic. With beneficence, we must take responsibility for our community, competently, compassionately and cooperatively. The authors argue that justice entails that governments fund health care, as our collective social protection against threats to health. Justice (fairness and equity) and utility (efficiency) are essential to health care systems. They sum up, "Policies of just access to health care, strategies of efficiency in health care institutions, and global needs for the reduction of health-impairing conditions dwarf in social importance every other issue considered in this book. . we have proposed that society recognize global rights to health and enforceable rights to a decent minimum of health care within a framework of allocation that incorporates both utilitarian and egalitarian standards."