Observing Bioethics

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Based on original primary and extensive secondary source materials, the book views bioethics as a complex phenomenon that is not only related to advances in modern biology, medicine, and biotechnology, but also to the fundamental values and beliefs and larger moral and existential questions which American society has been collectively grappling in its courts, legislatures, and media. Although they center their analysis on U.S. bioethics, the authors also trace the field's international spread, including case studies of bioethics in France and Pakistan - two of the many societies in which it has developed. While recognizing the intellectual, moral and sociological importance of American bioethics, they are critical of certain of its characteristics, and concerned about their implications-especially the problems of thinking socially, culturally, and internationally that have existed since bioethics' inception; the field's tenuous interdisciplinarity ; and the extent to which the culture wars on the larger American scene have recently penetrated it.