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The Humanities and the Future of Bioethics Education


Let’s face it, the humanities are in trouble. Last year, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Thomas H. Benton warned prospective graduate students to avoid doctoral studies in the humanities. His rationale: a job market down 40%, the improbability of tenure, the more certain prospect of life as an adjunct, and eventual outright exile from one’s chosen field. Benton, the pen name of William Pannapacker, an associate professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, pulled no punches. His piece was entitled, “Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go.”

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EJ Cassell . The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine. New England Journal of Medicine 1982;306(11):639–45

JJ Fins , BS Maltby , E Friedmann , M Green , K Norris , R Adelman , I Byock . Contracts, covenants and advance care planning: An empirical study of the moral obligations of patient and proxy. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2005;29(1):55–68

EG Nilson , JJ Fins . Reinvigorating ethics consultations: An impetus from the “quality” debate. HEC Forum 2006;18(4):298–304

NN Dubler , M Webber , D Swiderski , The Faculty and National Working Group for the Clinical Credentialing Project. Securing excellence in clinical ethics consultation: Credentialing and privileging consultants and engaging in ongoing quality improvement. The Hastings Center Report 2009;39:23–33

AR Jonsen . The Birth of Bioethics. New York: Oxford; 1998

JJ Fins , I de Melo Martin . C.P. Snow’s two cultures fifty years later: An enduring problem with an elusive solution. Technology in Society 2010;32(1):1–4

JJ Fins . C.P. Snow at Wesleyan: Liberal learning and the origins of the “third culture.” Technology in Society 2010;32(1):10–7

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Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • ISSN: 0963-1801
  • EISSN: 1469-2147
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics
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