Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 7th Edition

ISBN: 9780199924585
ISBN-10: 0199924589
Copyright: 2013
Edition: 7th
Authors: Beauchamp, Tom L., Childress, James F.,
Doody's Expert Review    Score: 88
Reviewer: Tyler Gibb,  JD, PhD(c)  (UCLA Health Ethics Center)
This seventh edition of one of the foundational bioethics texts is both an update and an expansion of previous editions. In particular, it expands the argument regarding the common morality and the discussion of virtue theory, and adds sections on moral virtue, moral ideals, and moral excellence.
The purpose is to engage critics of the authors' moral framework, commonly referred to as principlism, update the book with emerging issues, and to clarify their overall theoretical project. Although much of the structure remains unchanged, the updates and edits are illuminating, important, and valuable.
This book is critical, from both a historical and a developmental perspective, to understanding bioethics. Thus, bioethicists and students of bioethics, as well as healthcare professionals and members of ethics committees, should carefully read this book. Any understanding of bioethics would be insufficient without an appreciation and understanding of the moral framework this book establishes. In addition to being a foundational text, it is a valuable tool for teaching bioethics and ethical decision-making in the classroom.
In this seventh edition, "virtually every section and subsection" includes attempts to sharpen analyses, strengthen arguments, and address criticisms. After laying the groundwork for a theory of common morality in chapter one, the remaining nine chapters offer explanations and deep philosophical arguments on a variety of important concepts, including, for example, moral status, justice, and the professional-patient relationship.
By engaging critics of principlism, this edition is a critical book for the field of bioethics. Although each subsequent edition seems to expand the reach of principlism, this one represents both an expansion as well as a tightening of the overall theory.
Review Questionnaire
Range Question Score
1-10 Are the author's objectives met? 8
1-10 Rate the worthiness of those objectives. 10
1-5 Is this written at an appropriate level? 5
1-5 Is there significant duplication? (1=significant, 5=insignificant) 4
1-5 Are there significant omissions? (1=significant, 5=insignificant) 4
1-5 Rate the authority of the authors. 5
1-5 Are there sufficient illustrations? N/A
1-5 Rate the pedagogic value of the illustrations. N/A
1-5 Rate the print quality of the illustrations. N/A
1-5 Are there sufficient references? 5
1-5 Rate the currency of the references. 4
1-5 Rate the pertinence of the references. 4
1-5 Rate the helpfulness of the index. 4
1-5 If important in this specialty, rate the physical appearance of the book N/A
1-10 Is this a worthwhile contribution to the field? 10
1-10 If this is a 2nd or later edition, is this new edition needed? 8