Principles of Biomedical Ethics 8th Edition by Tom L. Beauchamp, ISBN-13: 978-0190640873


Principles of Biomedical Ethics 8th Edition by Tom L. Beauchamp, ISBN-13: 978-0190640873

[PDF eBook eTextbook]

  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 8th edition (October 1, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • 512 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0190640871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0190640873

Principles of Biomedical Ethics provides a highly original, practical, and insightful guide to morality in the health professions. Acclaimed authors Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress thoroughly develop and advocate for four principles that lie at the core of moral reasoning in health care: respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice. Drawing from contemporary research–and integrating detailed case studies and vivid real-life examples and scenarios–they demonstrate how these prima facie principles can be expanded to apply to various conflicts and dilemmas, from how to deliver bad news to whether or not to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments.

Ideal for courses in biomedical ethics, bioethics, and health care ethics, the text is enhanced by hundreds of annotated citations and a substantial introduction that clarifies key terms and concepts.

Table of Contents



1. Moral Norms

Normative and Nonnormative Ethics

The Common Morality as Universal Morality

Particular Moralities as Nonuniversal

Moral Dilemmas

A Framework of Moral Principles

Conflicting Moral Norms

2. Moral Character

The Concept of Moral Virtue

Virtues in Professional Roles

The Central Virtue of Caring

Five Focal Virtues

Moral Ideals

Moral Excellence

3. Moral Status

The Problem of Moral Status

Theories of Moral Status

From Theories to Practical Guidelines

The Moral Significance of Moral Status

Vulnerable Populations and Vulnerable Individuals


4. Respect for Autonomy

The Concept of Autonomy and the Principle of Respect for Autonomy

The Capacity for Autonomous Choice

The Meaning and Justification of Informed Consent




Surrogate Decision Making for Nonautonomous Patients

5. Nonmaleficence

The Concept and Principle of Nonmaleficence

Distinctions and Rules Governing Nontreatment Decisions

Optional Treatments and Obligatory Treatments

Killing and Letting Die

Intentionally Arranged Deaths: When, If Ever, Are They Justified?

Protecting Incompetent Patients from Harm

Whose Risks and Whose Benefits? Problems of Underprotection and Overprotection in Research

6. Beneficence

The Concept of Beneficence and Principles of Beneficence

Obligatory Beneficence and Ideal Beneficence

Paternalism: Conflicts between Beneficence and Respect for Autonomy

Balancing Benefits, Costs, and Risks

The Value and Quality of Life

7. Justice

The Concept of Justice and Principles of Justice

Traditional Theories of Justice

Two Theories Closely Connected to the Value of Health

Fair Opportunity and Unfair Discrimination

Vulnerability, Exploitation, and Discrimination in Research

National Health Policy and the Right to Health Care

Global Health Policy and the Right to Health

Allocating, Setting Priorities, and Rationing

8. Professional-Patient Relationships





The Distinction between Clinical Ethics and Research Ethics


9. Moral Theories

Criteria for Assessing Moral Theories

Utilitarian Theory

Kantian Theory

Rights Theory

Virtue Theory

The Convergence of Theories on Principles

10. Method and Moral Justification

Justification in Ethics

Top-Down Models: Theory and Application

Bottom-Up Models: Cases and Analogical Reasoning

An Integrated Model: Reflective Equilibrium

Common-Morality Theory


Tom L. Beauchamp is Professor of Philosophy and Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.

James F. Childress is University Professor & John Allen Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics at the University of Virginia.

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