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Book and Media Reviews
June 1, 2011

Methods in Medical Ethics

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics (emeritus), School of Medicine, Woodside, California (ernleyoung@comcast.net).

JAMA. 2011;305(21):2234. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.734

In their preface to Methods in Medical Ethics, the editors remark that, in the 9 years since the first edition was published, “educational programs in medical ethics have proliferated.” They also note that “as in the first edition, in each chapter dealing with a particular method, the author(s) generally provide a description of the method, a critique of the method, and then notes on resources and training in the method.” The 3 basic types of ethical inquiry as defined by most philosophers are normative (what ought one to do?), descriptive (what is one doing?), and metaethics (“the branch of philosophy that investigates the meaning of moral terms, the logic and linguistics of moral reasoning, and the fundamental questions of moral ontology, epistemology, and justification”) (pp 3-4). All 3 types are on display in this collection of essays.

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