Bioethics: Ancient Themes in Contemporary Issues

In recent years, bioethicists have worked on government commissions, on ethics committees in hospitals and nursing homes, and as bedside consultants. Because ethical knowledge is based on experience within the field rather than on universal theoretical propositions, it is open to criticism for its lack of theoretical foundation. Once in the clinic, however, ethicists noted the extent to which medical practice itself combined the certitudes of science with craft forms of knowledge. In an effort to forge a middle path between pure science and applied medical and ethical knowledge, bioethicists turned to the work of classical philosophy, especially the theme of a practical wisdom that entails a variable knowledge of particulars.In this book contemporary bioethicists and scholars of ancient philosophy explore the import of classical ethics on such pressing bioethical concerns as managed care, euthanasia, suicide, and abortion. Although the contributors write within the limits of their own disciplines, through cross references and counterarguments they engage in fruitful dialogue.