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The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics


  • Page extent: 904 pages
  • Size: 279 x 215 mm
  • Weight: 2.27 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521888790)

  • Published December 2008

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$340.00 (R)

The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics is the first comprehensive scholarly account of the global history of medical ethics. Offering original interpretations of the field by leading bioethicists and historians of medicine, it will serve as the essential point of departure for future scholarship in the field. The volumes reconceptualize the history of medical ethics through the creation of new categories, including the life cycle; discourses of religion, philosophy, and bioethics; and the relationship between medical ethics and the state, which includes a historical reexamination of the ethics of apartheid, colonialism, communism, health policy, imperialism, militarism, Nazi medicine, Nazi "medical ethics," and research ethics. Also included are the first global chronology of persons and texts; the first concise biographies of major figures in medical ethics; and the first comprehensive bibliography of the history of medical ethics. An extensive index guides readers to topics, texts, and proper names.


Part I. An Introduction to the History of Medical Ethics; Part II. A Chronology of Medical Ethics Robert Baker and Laurence McCullough; Part III. Discourses of Medical Ethics Through the Life Cycle; Part IV. Discourses of Religion on Medical Ethics; Part V. The Discourses of Philosophy on Medical Ethics; Part VI. The Discourses of Practitioners on Medical Ethics; Part VII. The Discourses of Bioethics; Part VIII. Discourses on Medical Ethics and Society.

Prize Winner

Winner, Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 2009


"It took Baker and McCullough 10 years to edit The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics, but the result is 876 pages written by the editors and by 55 other bioethics scholars and historians from around the globe. It took me a month to read the book comprehensively and critically, but this was one of the most pleasant and interesting reads I have ever had.... The information presented is rich and exciting.... One section I know I will find useful was part 2, “Chronology of Medical Ethics,” prepared by the editors. They listed facts in 4 columns—dates, events, persons, and texts. The 76 pages that comprise the chronology list a large number of facts pertaining to bioethics, many of which were new to me. I am sure other readers will find this part of the encyclopedia fascinating and useful, and I believe scholars of bioethics will use this chronology more than other parts of the book, because it contains an exceedingly easy-to-use history of bioethics that provides the most complete outline of the history of bioethics I have read. Searching for correct historical facts in bioethics is quickly and easily accomplished in this part of the encyclopedia, and this part will help every bioethics scholar in his or her work. I predict that this will be the most thumbed and worn part of the volume in every library. ... Every municipal library should have a copy of The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics, and it should be a mandatory purchase for every university reference."

--Journal of the American Medical Association

"No ordinary medical ethics text, this massive volume lives up to its title--it is indeed a world history of medical ethics. First, it offers a time line of the events persons and texts that have shaped medical ethics from approximately 4000 BCE to 2000 CE. Next, it offers a comprehensive bibliography and an appendix with biographies of 'who was who in the history of medical ethics'. Finally, and most importantly, the text advances the way medical ethics is done by effectively changing the dominant paradigm of the discipline...Ultimately readers will gain a fuller appreciation of the multidimensional nature of past and present work in both theoretical and applied biomedical ethics. Highly recommended."


“In The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics, Baker and McCullough have created an extraordinary resource. Going far beyond mainstream (read: Western) historical accounts, they truly span the globe, dipping into fascinating and important historical streams worldwide. The result isn’t merely a reference book, it is collection of innovative new views, through multiple prisms, of the roles medical ethics has played in the intellectual, religious, philosophical, and medical practice histories of nations – and of all humanity. Without doubt this book will become a standard reference text for historians. But it will also spark new insights into the present and future of medical ethics."

--Matthew K. Wynia, Director, Institute of Ethics, American Medical Association

"The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics provides what has been missing for so long--a context, a history and analysis of the interrelationship between contemporary bioethics and its past. The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics brings together brilliant scholars from around the world who trenchently discuss a sweeping array of topics using an impressive array of sources and materials. No other volume addresses the history, culture and religious roots of medical ethics with the care and rigor of this volume. There is simply no better introduction to the evolution of medical ethics."

--Arthur Caplan, Director, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania

"...All in all, this is a useful compendium of articles on internal norms of the medical profession throughout history and in different societies, especially in their religious aspects (which, of course, permeated the times of most of the history of medicine). It also contains a well-thought-out index and a truly excellent bibliography."

--Gregory Pence, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Journal of the History of Medicine

"....The introduction by the editors sets out the reasoning behind the structure of the different sections, so a motivated reader can figure out (more or less) what is in each section and why. The chapters have clearly been edited for consistency of tone and language where possible. Moreover, the ultimate inclusive aim of the volume is laudable and, more often than not, achieved. I agree with the editors that wide-ranging historical perspectives have the potential to provide a welcome antidote to superficial work by some contemporary bioethicists, who may be all too quick to assume that the history of medical ethics starts in 1970 or that bioethical concepts have been around for millennia in roughly their current form. I’m pleased to have this volume on my bookshelf; and when a student comes in wondering about what health practitioners in the ninth- to fourteenth-century Middle East thought about psychosomatic aspects of disease, I will know just where to look."
--Kirstin Borgerson, Isis

“ enormous piece of work, as one might expect a world history to be.... The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics is an excellent reference work and one which will be invaluable to those interested in medical ethics.”
--Nathan Emmerich, Belfast, Gesnerus, Swiss Journal of the History of Medicine and Sciences


Darrel Amundsen, Robert Baker, Ronald Bayer, Klaus Bergdolt, Bela Blasszauer, Kenneth Boyd, Baruch A. Brody, Chester R. Burns, H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., Ruiping Fan, Gary B. Ferngren, Mary E. Fissell, Daniel M. Fox, Renée C. Fox, Eugenijus Gefenas, Diego Gracia, Ilhan Ilkilic, Albert R. Jonsen, Rihito Kimura, Rudolf Klein, Stephen R. Latham, Susan E. Lederer, Barron H. Lerner, Lun Li, Boleslav L. Lichterman, Mary Lindemann, Andreas-Holger Maehle, José Alberto Mainetti, Laurence B. McCullough, James C. Mohr, Jonathan D. Moreno, Maurizio Mori, Dorothy Nelkin, Jing-Bao Nie, Jiro Nudeshima, Vivian Nutton, Robert A. Nye, Wendy Orr, Martine S. Pernick, Vardit Rispler-Chaim, David Rosner, Shizu Sakai, Ulf Schmidt, Judith P. Swazey, Juan Carlos Tealdi, Ulrich Trohler, Takashi Tsuchiya, Robert M. Veatch, Heinrich von Staden, Angela Amondi Wasunna, Andrew Wear, Ursula Weisser, Mikhail Yarovinsky, Katherine K. Young, Noam J. Zohar

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