Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

An Introduction


  • Date Published: May 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521714594

£ 37.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Request inspection copy

Lecturers may request a copy of this title for inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Providing readers with the confidence needed to debate key issues in bioethics, this introductory text clearly explains bioethical theories and their philosophical foundations. Over 250 activities introduce topics for personal reflection, and discussion points encourage students to think for themselves and build their own arguments. Highlighting the potential pitfalls for those new to bioethics, each chapter features boxes providing factual information and outlining the philosophical background, along with detailed case studies that offer an insight into real-life examples of bioethical problems. Within-chapter essay questions and quizzes, along with end-of-chapter review questions, allow students to check their understanding and to broaden their thinking about the topics discussed. The accompanying podcasts by the author (two of whose podcasts on iTunesU™ have attracted over 3 million downloads) explain points that might be difficult for beginners. These, along with a range of extra resources for students and instructors, are available at

    • Explains bioethical issues and their philosophical foundations to science students, providing them with the framework needed to confidently take part in current ethical debates around biotechnology
    • Over 200 activities within and at the end of chapters provide topics for personal reflection, paired and group discussions, quizzes and essay questions
    • Online resources include author podcasts explaining key philosophical concepts, distinctions, ideas and arguments, plus extra practice questions, links to websites and topical newspaper articles
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book is an excellent, unique and comprehensive resource for either an undergraduate or a graduate course. With its wonderful introduction into ethical theory and a multifaceted approach, it is an incomparable resource for the successful teaching of bioethics. The author's eloquent writing … carefully examines practically every aspect of [this] exciting interdisciplinary [field] … a valuable reading of interest for both students and scholar[s], alike.' Mirjana Brockett, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

    'I do not know of a better introduction and I suspect that it may become the standard text for years to come. It aims to give a sound introduction to people who have had little or no experience of ethics or philosophy, and it does so in a lively, rich and very readable way. Most important of all, it tries to engender a genuinely philosophical approach: fair-minded, rational and critical … a freshness and clarity that will stimulate thinking and discussion even amongst the most jaded students … I feel confident that nurses with the skills of reasoning and the fairness of mind that Bioethics: An Introduction is designed to provide will bring credit to themselves, to their patients and to the health services within which they work.' Nursing Philosophy

    '… admirably accessible and organised … this book not only makes learning about profound topics easier and more interesting, but it provides lessons for instructors to become more effective teachers.' The Quarterly Review of Biology

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521714594
    • length: 476 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 189 x 22 mm
    • weight: 1.01kg
    • contains: 54 b/w illus. 1 table 233 exercises
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Using this book
    Notes for instructors
    Part I. Bioethics and Ethics:
    1. Biotechnology and bioethics: what it's all about
    2. Ethics in general: ethics, action and freedom
    3. Ethics in the context of society: ethics, society and the law
    4. Ethical theories: virtue, duty and happiness
    5. Identifying and evaluating arguments: logic and morality
    6. General arguments: unnatural, disgusting, risky, only opinion
    Part II. The Beginning and End of Life
    Section 1. Cloning:
    7. Therapeutic cloning: the moral status of embryos
    8. Reproductive cloning: science and science fiction
    Section 2. Reproduction:
    9. Reproductive freedom: rights, responsibilities and choice
    10. The resources of reproduction: eggs, sperm and wombs for sale
    11. Screening and embryo selection: eliminating disorders or people?
    Section 3. Ageing and Death:
    12. Ageing and immortality: the search for longevity
    13. Death and killing: the quality and value of life
    Part III. In the Midst of Life
    Section 1. Our Duties to Ourselves:
    14. Human enhancement: the more the better?
    15. Bio-information: databases, privacy and the fight against crime
    16. Security and defence: security sensitivity, publication and warfare
    Section 2. Our Duties to Each Other:
    17. Food and energy security: GM food, biofuel and the media
    18. Bio-ownership: who owns the stuff of life?
    19. Human justice: the developed and developing worlds
    Section 3. Our Duties to Nature:
    20. Non-human animals: consciousness, rationality and animal rights
    21. The living and non-living environment: spaceship Earth

  • Resources for


    Marianne Talbot

    Find resources associated with this title

    Type Name Unlocked * Format Size

    Showing of

    Back to top

    This title is supported by one or more locked resources. Access to locked resources is granted exclusively by Cambridge University Press to lecturers whose faculty status has been verified. To gain access to locked resources, lecturers should sign in to or register for a Cambridge user account.

    Please use locked resources responsibly and exercise your professional discretion when choosing how you share these materials with your students. Other lecturers may wish to use locked resources for assessment purposes and their usefulness is undermined when the source files (for example, solution manuals or test banks) are shared online or via social networks.

    Supplementary resources are subject to copyright. Lecturers are permitted to view, print or download these resources for use in their teaching, but may not change them or use them for commercial gain.

    If you are having problems accessing these resources please contact

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Ethics in Anthropological Genetics Research
    • Health Care Ethics: Policy and Management Perspectives
    • Law, Medicine & Ethics
  • Author

    Marianne Talbot, University of Oxford
    Marianne Talbot has been Director of Studies in Philosophy at Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education since 2001, where she is responsible for the university's lifelong learning in philosophy. Talbot pioneered Oxford's popular online short courses and has more recently specialised in teaching ethics to scientists. She teaches ethics for doctoral training centres in Oxford and in London and has trained the EPSCR itself in ethics.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.