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March 23, 1994

Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions

JAMA. 1994;271(12):955-956. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510360085046

The first edition of this text was published in 1981 and was coauthored by Ruth Purtilo and Christine Cassel. I have not examined a copy of the first edition text and do not intend to compare the two volumes. Since the original text was published well over 10 years ago and bioethics is an area of inquiry in which change is constant, I do not believe that a great deal would be gained by comparing the two editions. The second edition is current and should stand or fall on its own.

I cannot remember when my reactions to a book have been more varied, or more in opposition to one another. As a philosopher and academician, I dislike intensely many things about this text. On the other hand, as a teacher who has seen students master a host of abstract ethical principles and then forget those principles as soon as

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