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Against Relativism: Cultural Diversity and the Search for Ethical Universals in Medicine: Book by Ruth Macklin

Against Relativism: Cultural Diversity and the Search for Ethical Universals in Medicine

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ISBN: 9780195116328    Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc Year of publishing: 1999     Format:  Hardback No of Pages: 304        Language: English
This book provides an analysis of the debate surrounding the facts of cultural diversity, the charge of "ethical imperialism", and the thesis that ethics must be viewed as relative to particular cultures...Read more
This book provides an analysis of the debate surrounding the facts of cultural diversity, the charge of "ethical imperialism", and the thesis that ethics must be viewed as relative to particular cultures or societies. Macklin examines the role of cultural traditions when used as a defense against critical ethical judgements. She explores key issues in health and medicine seen through the lens of cultural diversity: the physician-patient relationship, disclosing a diagnosis of fatal illness, informed consent, brain death and organ transplantation, rituals surrounding birth and death, female genital mutilation, sex selection of offspring, fertility regulation, and biomedical research involving human subjects. Among the conclusions she reaches are that ethical universals exist, but they should not be confused with ethical absolutes; and that the existence of ethical universals is compatible with a variety of culturally relative interpretations. Some rights related to medicine and healthcare ought to be considered human rights.
Illustrative examples are drawn from the author's experience serving on international ethical review committees and her travels to a dozen countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where she conducted educational workshops and carried out her own research.
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