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Interview with Gary Seay and Susana Nuccetelli, authors of Engaging Bioethics

Engaging Bioethics: An Introduction with Case Studies draws students into this rapidly changing field, helping them to actively untangle the many issues at the intersection of medicine and moral concern. We spent five minutes with authors Gary Seay and Susana Nuccetelli to find out more.

1.How did your own interest in the field of Bioethics begin?

We came to the field of bioethics by different routes. Gary’s interest was influenced at the beginning by two philosophers, Tom L. Beauchamp, who was his dissertation director at Georgetown, and Ruth Macklin, who invited him to a workshop on biomedical ethics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1986. Also, he would like to mention the motivating role of Dr. Simon Fink, chair of the Department of Surgical Oncology at New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, who invited him to serve on their ethics committee. Susana’s interest was influenced by her work on ethics in general and normative theory in particular. Reflection on the main moral theories, which she often teaches, naturally motivates an intellectual curiosity about how those theories score on the ability to produce sound moral guidance. She decided to test them with the challenging moral dilemmas arising in the practice of medicine and biomedical research.

2. How did you approach writing Engaging Bioethics? What challenges did you encounter?

We had experience working together on five previous books, in addition to some articles, and it seemed to us that we were a good team for producing philosophical books on various topics. But Engaging Bioethics was an especially demanding project that ended up taking nearly five years to complete, not counting the development of a vast database of resources of cases and news items.

3. How does Engaging Bioethics differ from other books on the market?

Most bioethics books on this scale are anthologies of original sources. But we believe that student comprehension might be increased if they were able to hear all of the issues discussed in a single voice, as it were, in a textbook format. Moreover, we aimed at clarity and liveliness in our writing style, with ample use of argument reconstruction, landmark court decisions, and other illustrative examples.

4. What do you hope students will take away from this book?

We’d hope they would have gained familiarity with some of the central issues and controversies in contemporary biomedical ethics and an understanding of the philosophical arguments relevant to thinking productively about them.

5. Can you sum the book up in one sentence?

Yes. It would go something like this: “If I am a healthcare professional, how can I think critically and clearly about my moral obligations to patients and to others affected by treatment decisions, so that I am able to do the right thing?”

6. What do you see for the future of the field of Bioethics?

We would expect to see a developing interest in fields of applied ethics specific to medical specialties – e.g. the ethics of anaesthesiology, orthopaedics, gerontology, surgery, radiology, etc. But we’d also expect to see more work in the non-medical areas of bioethics – in environmental ethics, for instance, and also in the ethics governing the treatment of animals.





















  • Engaging Bioethics

    An Introduction With Case Studies

    By Gary Seay, Susana Nuccetelli

    Engaging Bioethics: An Introduction with Case Studies draws students into this rapidly changing field, helping them to actively untangle the many issues at the intersection of medicine and moral concern. Presuming readers start with no background in philosophy, it offers balanced, philosophically…

    Paperback – 2017-02-16
    Routledge