Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 163–165 | Cite as

Disciplining Bioethics: The Debate Over Human Embryo Research

A (Grumpy) Review of J. Benjamin Hurlbut, 2017, Experiments in Democracy: Human Embryo Research and the Politics of Bioethics, Columbia University Press (New York, 978-0-231-17954-6, 376 pp.)
  • Giulia Cavaliere
Book Review


J. Benjamin Hurlbut’s book Experiments in Democracy: Human Embryo Research and the Politics of Bioethics is an historiographical analysis of the American debate over embryo research. It covers more than four decades of this debate and uses key actors, bodies, and events as empirical evidence for its analysis. At a first glance, it might seem like a book that tells a story, but Experiments in Democracy is much more than that. Hurlbut uses the chapters of this narrative as case studies through which to examine practices of deliberative democracy and the role played by scientists and ethicists in the deliberative processes concerning embryo research and the governance thereof.


Embryo research Bioethics IVF Democracy Science Book review 


  1. Hurlbut, J.B. 2017. Experiments in democracy: Human embryo research and the politics of bioethics. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Jasanoff, S., J.B. Hurlbut, and K. Saha. 2015. CRISPR democracy: Gene editing and the need for inclusive deliberation. Issues in Science and Technology 32(1): 37–49.Google Scholar
  3. Kitcher, P. 2001. Science, truth, and democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Wilson, D. 2014. The making of British bioethics. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Global Health & Social MedicineKing’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

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