Progress in Bioethics


About the book

Bioethics has become increasingly politicized over the past decade. Conservative voices dominated the debate at first, but the recent resurgence of progressivism and the application of its fundamental values (social justice, critical optimism, practical problem solving) to bioethical issues have helped correct this ideological imbalance. Progress in Bioethics is the first book to debate the meaning of progressive bioethics and to offer perspectives on the topic both from bioethicists who consider themselves progressive and from bioethicists who do not. It aims to begin a dialogue and to provide a foothold for readers interested in understanding the field.

The chapter authors–leading scholars in the field–discuss the meaning of progressive bioethics, the rise of conservative bioethics, the progressive stance toward biotechnology, the interplay of progressive bioethics and religion, and progressive approaches to such specific policy issues as bioethics commissions, stem cell research, and health-care reform.

The arrival of a new administration in 2009—one that is open to progressive ideas and rejects ideological interventions in science—makes this book and its new approach to bioethics relevant and timely.


Sam Berger, Daniel Callahan, Arthur L. Caplan, R. Alta Charo, Marcy Darnovsky, John H. Evans, Kathryn Hinsch, James Hughes, Richard Lempert, William F. May, Eric M. Meslin, Jonathan D. Moreno, Michael Rugnetta, Paul Root Wolpe, Laurie Zoloth


“The essays in this book are beautifully written, with each author presenting a well-reasoned thesis in an eloquent and passionate yet respectful and civil manner. In an age in which controversy is all too often accompanied by confrontation and argumentative discourse, the overall tone of this anthology is refreshing. The book successfully meets the goal of promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of progressivism in bioethics…For scholars, clinicians, and policy-makers whose work is enhanced by a deeper understanding of the primary intellectual debate in bioethics, Progress in Bioethics offers a provocative and stimulating educational experience.”
—Andrew R. Barnosky, Journal of the American Medical Association

Praise for the book

“Progressive eras in American society come and go but quality scholarship endures. So it is withProgress in Bioethics, a rich anthology considering the recent politicalization of bioethics and the place of progressive voices in that debate. Editors Jonathan D. Moreno and Sam Berger are to be lauded for a timely volume that maps the shifting political and philosophical terrain of bioethics. Distinguished essayists provide a shrewd analysis of the current administration’s reconsideration of its predecessor’s policies on questions like stem cell research and the importance President Obama has placed on value-neutral science policy. Although Progress in Bioethics makes a strong case for a progressive bioethics, its tone is never strident. Readers on the right and left will find valuable insights here and perhaps even a blueprint for finding common cause.”
—Joseph J. Fins, Chief, Division of Medical Ethics, Professor of Medicine and Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, author of A Palliative Ethic of Care: Clinical Wisdom at Life’s End

“Finally we have a thorough exploration of the nature and implications of a progressive approach to bioethics, a needed counterweight to conservative attitudes toward science. Progress in Bioethicsdeserves a place on the shelf of every thoughtful person interested in the intersection of science, ethics, and public policy.”
—Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science

“No matter what your political persuasion, reading this stimulating and provocative book will help you better understand debates over controversial topics in bioethics.”
—Bernard Lo, Professor of Medicine, and Director, Program in Medical Ethics, University of California, San Francisco

Purchase the book here.

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