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Bioethics and the Human Goods: An Introduction to Natural Law Bioethics

by Alfonso Gomez-Lobo and John Keown Georgetown Univ Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 148 pages
AU$62.00 NZ$62.61
Product Status: Out of stock. Not available to order.
& Academics:
Bioethics and the Human Goods offers students and general readers a brief introduction to bioethics from a "natural law" philosophical perspective. This perspective, which traces its origins to classical antiquity, has profoundly shaped Western ethics and law and is enjoying an exciting renaissance. While compatible with much in the ethical thought of the great religions, it is grounded in reason, not religion. In contrast to the currently dominant bioethical theories of utilitarianism and principlism, the natural law approach offers an understanding of human flourishing grounded in basic human goods, including life, health, friendship and knowledge, and in the wrongness of intentionally turning against, or neglecting, these goods.

The book is divided into two sections: Foundations and Issues. Foundations sketches a natural law understanding of the important ethical principles of autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice, and explores different understandings of "personhood" and whether human embryos are persons. Issues applies a natural law perspective to some of the most controversial debates in contemporary bioethics at the beginning and end of life: research on human embryos, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, the withdrawal of tube-feeding from patients in a "persistent vegetative state," and the definition of death. The text is completed by appendixes featuring personal statements by Alfonso Gómez-Lobo on the status of the human embryo and on the definition and determination of death.

Preface Introduction Part I: Foundations 1. Bioethical Thinking 2. Principles 3. The Ethical Divide 4. The Ontological Divide 5. Potentiality and Genetics Part II: Issues 6. Beginning of Life Issues 7. End-of-Life Issues 8. Issues in Transplantation 9. Epilogue Appendix A: The Status of the Human Embryo Personal statement of Professor Robert P. George, joined by Dr. Gómez-Lobo Appendix B: The Determination of Death Personal statement of Dr. Gómez-Lobo Selected Bibliography Index

'Alfonso-Gomez Lobo was a thinker and writer of uncommon insight and wisdom. His death was a grievous loss not only for philosophy as an academic discipline, but for truth seeking in the cause of sound public policy on morally charged issues in our public life. Praise to John Keown, therefore, for bringing us Professor Gomez-Lobo'sBioethics and the Human Goods. It will be a valuable resource in our efforts to shape law and public policy in line with central truths about right and wrong.'
- Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
Alfonso Gómez-Lobo (d. 2011) held the Ryan Chair in Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy at Georgetown University. He was a leading authority on classical philosophy and on bioethics. He specialized in Greek philosophy and historiography, the history of ethics, contemporary natural law theory, and bioethics. He was the recipient of several awards, including a research fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and was a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. His many publications include Morality and the Human Goods.

John Keown holds the Rose F. Kennedy Chair in Christian Ethics in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. He was previously a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge. His research has been cited by distinguished bodies worldwide, including the US Supreme Court and the Law Lords. In 2014 he was awarded the DCL, or Doctorate in Civil Law, by the University of Oxford in recognition of his contribution to the field of law and bioethics.