Critical Interventions in the Ethics of Healthcare: Challenging the Principle of Autonomy in Bioethics, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Critical Interventions in the Ethics of Healthcare

Challenging the Principle of Autonomy in Bioethics, 1st Edition

By Dave Holmes

Edited by Stuart J. Murray


258 pages

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Critical Interventions in the Ethics of Healthcare argues that traditional modes of bioethics are proving incommensurable with burgeoning biotechnologies and consequently, emerging subjectivities. Drawn from diverse disciplines, this volume works toward a new mode of discourse in bioethics, offering a critique of the current norms and constraints under which Western healthcare operates. The contributions imagine new, less paternalistic, terms by which bioethics might proceed - terms that do not resort to exclusively Western models of liberal humanism or to the logic of neoliberal economies. It is argued that in this way, we can begin to develop an ethical vocabulary that does justice to the challenges of our age. Bringing together theorists, practitioners and clinicians to present a wide variety of related disciplinary concerns and perspectives on bioethics, this volume challenges the underlying assumptions that continue to hold sway in the ethics of medicine and health sciences.


'Rarely does one find a volume that offers both theoretical and practical perspectives on the ethics of health care. In these essays we find trenchant analysis of the institutional and practical conditions of care, but also a theory of the body, its dependency, and the ethical claims it makes. Although "autonomy" is often defended as a key value in thinking about patients' rights, it also gets in the way of conceptualizing the inter-relationality of bodily experience. It is only because we are bound to others that we can make a rights claim to begin with. Murray and Holmes' collection allows us to rethink radically what it means to care for the body. It should appeal to clinicians, philosophers, social theorists, and ethicists as they take up the challenge of rethinking the ties that bind.' Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley, USA 'Bravo! Dramatic changes in biomedical technoscience have been accompanied by new social - and bioethical - relations. Here at last is an ambitious, smart, theoretically sophisticated book that grasps the transformations. The issues raised - and thoughtful alternatives offered - demand engagement by all concerned about health and medicine today.' Adele E. Clarke, University of California, San Francisco, USA 'It is a delight to read a bioethics book which for once does not discuss over and over again the "four principles of bioethics", but offers a critical stance on an area which is filled up with questions concerning the right and fair application of procedures. There is no doubt that we should also pay attention to these questions. A profound philosophical discussion at the level of the paradigm of bioethics itself is more than welcome.' Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy

About the Author/Editor

Stuart J. Murray is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Ryerson University, Canada. Dave Holmes is a Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Health Policy