1st Edition

Vulnerability Challenging Bioethics

By Henk ten Have Copyright 2016
    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    Alongside globalization, the sense of vulnerability among people and populations has increased. We feel vulnerable to disease as new infections spread rapidly across the globe, while disasters and climate change make health increasingly precarious. Moreover, clinical trials of new drugs often exploit vulnerable populations in developing countries that otherwise have no access to healthcare and new genetic technologies make people with disabilities vulnerable to discrimination. Therefore the concept of ‘vulnerability’ has contributed new ideas to the debates about the ethical dimensions of medicine and healthcare.

    This book explains and elaborates the new concept of vulnerability in today’s bioethics. Firstly, Henk ten Have argues that vulnerability cannot be fully understood within the framework of individual autonomy that dominates mainstream bioethics today: it is often not the individual person who is vulnerable, rather that his or her vulnerability is created through the social and economic conditions in which he or she lives. Contending that the language of vulnerability offers perspectives beyond the traditional autonomy model, this book offers a new approach which will enable bioethics to evolve into a global enterprise.

    This groundbreaking book critically analyses the concept of vulnerability as a global phenomenon. It will appeal to scholars and students of ethics, bioethics, globalization, healthcare, medical science, medical research, culture, law, and politics.

    1. The Idea of Vulnerability  2. Growing Interest in Vulnerability  3. Vulnerability in the Context of Health Care and Bioethics  4. The Bioethical Discourse of Vulnerability  5. We Are All Vulnerable - Philosophical Perspectives on Vulnerability  6. Some of Us Are More Vulnerable - Political Perspectives on Vulnerability  7. Vulnerability Is Everywhere - Globalization and Vulnerability  8. Theoretical Implications of Vulnerability  9. Practical Applications of Vulnerability


    Henk ten Have is Director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, USA. He studied medicine and philosophy in the Netherlands, and worked as a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine of the Universities of Maastricht and Nijmegen. From 2003 until 2010 he joined UNESCO in Paris as Director of the Division of Ethics of Science and Technology. His recent publications include the Handbook of Global Bioethics (2014) and Global Bioethics: An Introduction (2016). He is currently working on the Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics (2016).

    "With one eye on the recent bioethical discourse and the other on philosophical texts, Henk ten Have provides a comprehensive study of vulnerability understood in all its dimensions. His study includes medical and humanitarian concerns and issues of justice. However, ten Have does not simply oppose vulnerability to autonomy. Not only is the acceptance of vulnerability the condition for autonomous agency, but the insistence on the positive aspect of this notion also refreshes the way we frame many other important ethical and political categories. Informative and stimulating, this book is also well written and available to a large audience." — Corine Pelluchon, Full Professor in Philosophy and Applied Ethics at the University of Franche-Comté

    "Drawing on a rich fund of resources, including medical anthropology, Continental European philosophy, feminist bioethics, care ethics, and social and political philosophy, Henk ten Have has produced a masterly account of vulnerability. But – more than that – this work reframes Bioethics itself, moving it from a narrowly individualistic account of autonomy to using vulnerability as the stimulus for a global and politically relevant account of ethics. This book must become essential reading for students of Bioethics, challenging their preconceptions and introducing them to the full depth and complexity of the field." — Alastair V. Campbell, Professor in Medical Ethics and Director, Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the National University of Singapore

    "Henk ten Have, Director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, explores the vulnerability of global and social communities in the 21st century, and the expansion of bioethics from the individual to the human condition. There are unique threats faced by different populations, such as seniors, the homeless, and, indeed, countries. His book is rich with examples of basic and complex vulnerability, such as the historical use of the prison population as unwitting subjects in medical research and the initial rationalization for the public good, while sacrificing the right of an individual’s self-determination. Ten Have speaks to the creation of extensive vulnerability of cultures and countries, brought about in part by globalization and the deterioration of and assault on cultures. Ten Have presents vulnerability 'as a shared human condition ...' and that it is '... characteristic of the human species not of the individual.' This book offers rich bibliographies after each chapter, encouraging a deep dive into a fascinating topic. The author presents an outstanding in-depth discussion, describing the growing vulnerability of all humans." Choice