R. M. Hare is well kwn both for his seminal work in ethical theory and for his applications of it to practical issues. For this volume he has selected the best of his writings on medical ethics and related topics. Its chief theoretical interest lies in its synthesis between utilitarian and Kantian ethics, which are shown to have the same practical consequences. The main practical thesis in the book is that we can harm possible people by preventing them from becoming actual people. This thesis, if understood and accepted, would radically alter the terms of the public debate about embryo experimentation and population policy, and (perhaps surprisingly) support a fairly liberal view on abortion. The book also features general introductions to medical and psychiatric ethics, and essays on the concept of healh, on the morality of experimentation on children, on health care policy, on free will, and on vegetarianism.
R. M. Hare, FBA, is one of the most influential moral philosophers of the twentieth century. He was White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford from 1966 to 1983, and Graduate Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Florida, Gainesville, thereafter. His many publications include The Language of Morals (1952), Freedom and Reason (1963), Moral Thinking (1981), Plato (1982), Essays in Ethical Theory (1989), Essays on Political Morality (1989), and Essays on Religion and Education (1992), all published by Oxford University Press