Bioethics, Public Reason, and Religion is a new book from Center Professor Leonard M. Fleck, PhD. Published this month by Cambridge University Press as part of the Cambridge Elements Bioethics and Neuroethics series, the book is available to read online for free until August 26.
Fleck explores Rawlsian political liberalism, the limits of religious integrity, and examines the issues of physician aid-in-dying, the use of embryos in medical research, abortion, and the artificial womb.
“Given the United States Supreme Court Dobbs decision, this volume is especially timely since it is doubtful that the Dobbs decision could pass the public reason test—though readers are free to disagree with that conclusion,” said Fleck.
Summary: Can religious arguments provide a reasonable, justified basis for restrictive (coercive) public policies regarding numerous ethically and politically controversial medical interventions, such as research with human embryos, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or using artificial wombs? With Rawls, we answer negatively. Liberally reasonable policies must address these controversial technologies on the basis of public reasons accessible to all, even if not fully agreeable by all. Further, public democratic deliberation requires participants to construct these policies as citizens who are agnostic with respect to the truth of all comprehensive doctrines, whether secular or religious. The goal of these deliberations is practical, namely, to identify reasonable policy options that reflect fair terms of cooperation in a liberal, pluralistic society. Further, religious advocates may participate in formal policymaking processes as reasonable liberal citizens. Finally, public reason evolves through the deliberative process and all the novel technological challenges medicine generates for bioethics and related public policies.
Print copies of the book are also available for pre-order. The volume is a slim paperback, clearly written, and accessible for an undergraduate bioethics course that addresses several of these controversial bioethics issues as matters for public policy decision-making.
Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl has a new book available from Cascade Books, Imaging and Imagining Illness: Becoming Whole in a Broken Body. Edited by Dr. Stahl with a foreword from Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, the collection of essays draws from the disciplines of medical humanities, literature, visual culture, philosophy, and theology.
From Dr. Stahl:
Imaging and Imagining Illness explores the effects of imaging technologies on patients’ body image and self-understanding as well as the ways they influence our cultural understandings of illness. The project began as a collaboration between my sister Darian Goldin Stahl and myself. After I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I shared my stories of living with MS as well as my MRIs with Darian. As a print artist, Darian began using my scans in her artwork as a way to give a more complete picture of what it is like to live with illness. Darian’s art had a profound effect on how I saw myself and inspired me to open our collaboration to others. We invited four other scholars to build on our work from their unique disciplines and shed light on the meaning of illness and the impact medical imaging can have on our cultural imagination. Drs. Therese Jones and Kirsten Ostherr offer reflections from their disciplines of medical humanities and visual culture and media studies. Having read all of the previous chapters, Drs. Ellen T. Armour and Jeff P. Bishop build on previous insights and add reflections from theology and philosophy. By engaging illness through multiple disciplines, the book represents the many ways we can understand and represent illness.
Center for Ethics Professor Emerita Judith Andre, PhD, has written a new book, Worldly Virtue: Moral Ideals and Contemporary Life, published by Lexington Books in March 2015.
Worldly Virtue argues that general discussions of virtue need to be complemented by attention to specific virtues. Each chapter addresses a single virtue, most of them traditional (e.g., honesty, generosity, and humility), and sometimes newly framed (“earthly virtue,” for instance, and “open hope.”) The final essay breaks ground by identifying virtues specific to the fact that we age. The book draws upon various spiritual traditions, especially Christianity and Buddhism, for what they value and the practices that sustain those values; at times it identifies ways in which each can mislead. The book also draws from contemporary sciences, natural but especially behavioral. Anthropologists and sociologists, for instance, have identified a universal norm of reciprocity; virtuous generosity must respect this need to give back. In another example, new understandings of addiction suggest that temperance requires dealing with pain as much as resisting pleasure. Because no single template applies to every virtue, different questions are asked about each. Nevertheless each chapter addresses the often-neglected question of how the virtue in question is acquired, and how social context can support or impede its acquisition. The book is addressed to philosophers, but may also be of interest in religious studies, for its philosophical development of religious themes. – Source