Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 499–504 | Cite as

Stephen W. Smith: End-of-life decisions in medical care: principles and policies for regulating the dying process

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2012, 350 pp, $110, ISBN: 978-1-107-00538-9
  • Francis J. Beckwith

More jurisdictions are beginning to deliberate about decriminalizing and/or legalizing voluntary active euthanasia (VAE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS). It is important that these deliberations are fully informed by the ethical principles and contrary moral accounts of medicine and philosophical anthropology that are in play and are at stake in Western pluralistic democracies. That is the central concern of this book, authored by University of Birmingham, UK, law professor Stephen W. Smith.

Because this book deals with so many topics in such impressive detail, I can only hope to provide a cursory overview of what Smith covers. So, I will first briefly present a sketch of the book’s contents followed by some comments about the way in which Smith and, for that matter, most bioethicists approach their subject matter. The latter is not a criticism of Smith’s tome. Rather, it is an observation about the style of reasoning and argument that dominates contemporary bioethics (including...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBaylor UniversityWacoUSA

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