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Book and Media Reviews
December 22 2010

At the Roots of Christian Bioethics: Critical Essays on the Thought of H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.

JAMA. 2010;304(24):2747-2748. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1866

Few individuals in bioethics stir up more passion than H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr. His books are incomparable in their erudition and precision of language. Still, he remains the most misunderstood among bioethicists. Many of the most serious philosophical bioethicists, such as Beauchamp, Childress, and Veatch, developed their thought in dialogue with Engelhardt or in an attempt to counter him. This book of essays commenting on Engelhardt's work helps clarify what Engelhardt is about and why he remains important, despite many bioethicists ignoring or dismissing him. Engelhardt is a philosopher of difference, not unlike many of the great philosophers of the 20th century, such as Foucault or Derrida.