Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 165–169 | Cite as

Fredrik Svenaeus: Phenomenological bioethics: medical technologies, human suffering, and the meaning of being alive

Routledge, New York, 2018, xiv + 161 pp, $42.95 (Paperback), ISBN: 978-1-138-62996-7
  • James A. MarcumEmail author

The book’s cover aptly illustrates the state not only of contemporary medicine but also of bioethics or healthcare ethics—both of which, according to the author and critics, are facing challenges and issues that have led to a crisis. Specifically, the cover—though brightly lite—depicts a sterile and empty hospital waiting room. Its parallel to and implications for contemporary medicine and bioethics are obvious. Building on this first impression, Svenaeus informs the reader in the preface that his goal is to address the crisis facing medicine and bioethics by yoking both to phenomenology and thereby imbuing them with new life and meaning. Specifically, Svenaeus claims that contemporary bioethics and its four-principle approach (commonly called Principlism) are bankrupt, since they are based on the biomedical model, which reduces the human body to its individual parts. Phenomenology, he argues, represents a means of transcending this reductionism and its fragmentation, with particular...


  1. 1.
    Peabody, Francis. 1927. The care of the patient. Journal of the American Medical Association 88: 877–882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Macklin, Ruth. 1983. Personhood in the bioethics literature. Millbank Memorial Fund Quarterly: Health and Society 61: 35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Baylor UniversityWacoUSA

Personalised recommendations