The editors of this remarkable volume have collected 18 essays by humanists about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS seems to seek out as its victims the weakest and already victimized, writes Albert R. Jonsen, describing the inhumanity of this disease. Jonsen states that scientists have already fashioned a language for describing the disease in objective, clinical terms. What is needed w is a language to describe the human experience and instruct us on how to live humanely while AIDS is among us. To help construct this language, this collection examines AIDS from the perspective of the humanities: History can recall past experience for our instruction, Philosophy can define terms such as welfare, freedom, health, and disease, that guide our discourse, and Literature can reveal the images that shape the social reality of AIDS. Editors Eric T. Juengst and Barbara Koenig begin this study by delineating six interpretations of AIDS. Their aim is to demonstrate the many ways in which AIDS is viewed by society. The book is then divided into three parts. Part One examines how our current kwledge of AIDS was generated and how this kwledge is interpreted. Part Two explores the meaning of AIDS for health professionals and the ethical issues it can raise. Part Three examines public policy and AIDS. The contributors clarify and correct definitions, recall analogous incidents in our history and draw values and principles out of the obscurity of emotions and into the light of reason. divided into three parts. Part One examines the current kwledge of AIDS and how this kwledge is interpreted. Part Two explores the meaning and perceptions of AIDS in the medical community. Part Three examines public policy and AIDS. The contributors clarify and correct definitions, recall analogous incidents in our history and draw values and principles out of the obscurity of emotion and into the light of reason.
ERIC T. JUENGST is Assistant Professor of Humanities (Philosophy), Department of Humanities, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania. BARBARA KOENIG is Nursing Education Coordinator, AIDS Professional Education Project and Adjunct Lecturer, Division of Medical Ethics, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California.