Bioethics and the Human Goods offers students and general readers a brief introduction to bioethics from a natural law philosophical perspective. This perspective, which traces its origins to classical antiquity, has profoundly shaped Western ethics and law and is enjoying an exciting renaissance. While compatible with much in the ethical thought of the great religions, it is grounded in reason, t religion. In contrast to the currently dominant bioethical theories of utilitarianism and principlism, the natural law approach offers an understanding of human flourishing grounded in basic human goods, including life, health, friendship, and kwledge, and in the wrongness of intentionally turning against, or neglecting, these goods. The book is divided into two sections: Foundations and Issues. Foundations sketches a natural law understanding of the important ethical principles of automy, n-maleficence, beneficence, and justice and explores different understandings of personhood and whether human embryos are persons. Issues applies a natural law perspective to some of the most controversial debates in contemporary bioethics at the beginning and end of life: research on human embryos, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, the withdrawal of tube-feeding from patients in a persistent vegetative state, and the definition of death. The text is completed by appendices featuring personal statements by Alfonso Gomez-Lobo on the status of the human embryo and on the definition and determination of death.
Alfonso Gomez-Lobo (d. 2011) held the Ryan Chair in Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy at Georgetown University. He was a leading authority on classical philosophy and on bioethics. He specialized in Greek philosophy and historiography, the history of ethics, contemporary natural law theory, and bioethics. He was the recipient of several awards, including a research fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and was a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. His many publications include Morality and the Human Goods. John Keown holds the Rose F. Kennedy Chair in Christian Ethics in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. He previously taught the the law and ethics of medicine at Cambridge University. His research has been cited by distinguished bodies worldwide, including the US Supreme Court and the Law Lords. In 2015 Oxford University awarded him the degree of DCL, or Doctor of Civil Law, in recognition of his contribution to the field of law and bioethics.