The big issues of medical ethics are more in the news that ever before. And yet they remain as stubborn and often as incendiary as ever. This book claims that in an effort to deal with the issues, mainstream philosophers have arbitarily omitted many ethically relevant features in order to reduce them to more tractable technical puzzles. The most gratuitous omissions have been the patient's point of view on the problem, the patient's ordinary life that provides the wider context for his point of view, and the ordinary language and concepts by which the patient tries to make sense of the issue. In trying to rectify these omissions, the book is not offering an alternative theory that would generate policy-guiding solutions, but instead a nuanced examination of what it means to be human and to struggle with the mysteries of birth, life and death.

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