The Body in Bioethics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Body in Bioethics

1st Edition

By Alastair V. Campbell


168 pages

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pub: 2009-04-03
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Recent debates about uses and abuses of the human body in medicine have highlighted the need for a thorough discussion of the ethics of the uses of bodies, both living and dead.

Thorough and comprehensive, this volume explores different views of the significance of the human body and contrasting those which regard it as a commodity or personal possession with those which stress its moral value as integral to the personal identity of individuals. The Body in Bioethics addresses a number of key questions including:

    • Should it be legal to sell human organs for transplantation?
    • Are public displays of plastinated bodies or public autopsies morally justifiable?
    • Should there be restrictions on the uses of human tissue in teaching and research?
    • Is the rapid increase in volume and range of cosmetic surgery a matter for moral concern?

This careful study of moral values provides essential background to many of the current controversies in medical ethics and is essential reading for all students of law, medical law and medical ethics.


'The Body in Bioethics is an eloquent and essential argument for taking the reality of human embodiment seriously rather than treating the corporeal body as a mere container for the mind. Alastair Campbell melds a subtle understanding of philosophy with abundant experience as teacher, scholar, and public intellectual to challenge regnant ideas about the body as property, tissue donation, and trade in human organs among other controversial issues. Rich with philosophical insights and practical wisdom, The Body in Bioethics will enlighten all who read it.'

Dr Thomas Murray, President and CEO of The Hastings Centre, New York, USA

'In this elegantly written work, Alastair Campbell makes a powerful case for the resurrection of respect for the human body in bioethics. Swimming against the tide of much of current bioethical debates, Professor Campbell draws both on his distinguished record in moral philosophy and his recent practical engagement with the Retained Organs Commission and the Ethics and Governance Council of UK Biobank. The Body in Bioethics ought to prompt all its readers to reflect again on the centrality of those bodies we inhabit.'

Professor Margaret Brazier, Professor in Law at the University of Manchester and Co-Director of the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy

Table of Contents

1. Why the Body Matters 2. My Body – Property, Commodity or Gift? 3. Body Futures 4. The Tissue Trove 5. The Branded Body 6. Gifts from the Dead 7. Together at Last

About the Author

Alastair V. Campbell is Professor Emeritus of Ethics in Medicine at the University of Bristol. He is founding editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, a past President of the International Association of Bioethics and the author of ten books and numerous articles in the field. He is currently Chen Su Lan Centennial Chair in Medical Ethics at the National University of Singapore.

About the Series

Biomedical Law and Ethics Library

Scientific and clinical advances, social and political developments and the impact of healthcare on our lives raise profound ethical and legal questions. Medical law and ethics have become central to our understanding of these problems, and are important tools for the analysis and resolution of problems – real or imagined.

In this series, scholars at the forefront of biomedical law and ethics will contribute to the debates in this area, with accessible, thought-provoking, and sometimes controversial ideas. Each book in the series will develop an independent hypothesis and argue cogently for a particular position. One of the major contributions of this series is the extent to which both law and ethics are utilised in the content of the books, and the shape of the series itself.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General