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What is so special about human life? What is the relationship between flesh and blood and the human soul? Is there a kind of life that is worse than death? Can a person die and yet the human organism remain in some real sense alive? Can souls become sick? What justifies cutting into a living human body? These and other questions, writes neurosurgeon and philosopher Grant Gillett, pervade hospital wards, clinical offices, and operating rooms.
In Bioethics in the Clinic: Hippocratic Reflections, Gillett brings the tools of philosophy to bear on some of the most pressing issues confronting bioethicists today. Gillett draws on many schools of thought, including analytic, moral, and postmodern philosophy utilitarianism classical ethical theory phenomenology and metaphysics. He engages the reasoning of such philosophers as Aristotle, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Habermas, Levinas, and Martha Nussbaum, and offers both practical and clinical insights into such topics as the principle of "Do no harm," informed consent, confidentiality, cloning, and euthanasia.
Opening with an explanation of the axioms to be traced throughout succeeding discussions, with special emphasis on Hippocratic principles, Gillett focuses on general and specific problems of clinical practice, particularly as they affect the physician-patient relationship. The author then goes on to address ethical problems related to both the end of life, including euthanasia, and the beginning of life, such as embryo and stem cell research. Rigorous and elegant, this book will be of interest to those in medical fields, to students and scholars of philosophy, and to lay readers interested in the profound ethical dramas played out in hospitals and doctors' offices every day.