© 2005

The Edge of Life

Human Dignity and Contemporary Bioethics

  • Stuart F. Spicker
  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.
  • Kevin Wm. Wildes


  • Tackles some of the toughest practical questions of bioethics

  • Unifies the account concerning many disparate life issues


Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 85)

About this book


The Edge of Life: Human Dignity and Contemporary Bioethics resituates bioethics in fundamental outlook by challenging both the dominant Kantian and utilitarian approaches to evaluating how new technologies apply to human life. Drawing on an analysis of the dignity of the human person, both as an agent and as the recipient of action, The Edge of Life presents a "theoretical" approach to the problems of contemporary bioethics and applies this approach to various disputed questions. Should conjoined twins be split, if the division will end the life of the weaker twin? Was Bush's stem cell research decision morally acceptable? Are the 'quality of life' and 'sanctity of life' ethics irreconcilably incompatible?

Accessible to both scholars and students, The Edge of Life focuses particularly on the controversial issues surrounding the beginning and ending of human life, tackling some of the toughest practical questions of bioethics including new reproductive technologies (artificial wombs), stem cell research, abortion and physician assisted suicide, as well as many of its vexing theoretical disputes.


Ethics assessment bioethics cell morality quality of life

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Loyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA

Editors and affiliations

  • Stuart F. Spicker
  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.
    • 1
  • Kevin Wm. Wildes
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRice University, and Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Loyola UniversityNew OrleansUSA

Bibliographic information


From the reviews: “Kaczor addresses a number of today’s key bioethical issues, in light of ‘the dignity of the person, both as an agent and as a patient’ … . Kaczor’s focus not only on human dignity, but also, and more specifically, on human action … . In general and in most particulars, The Edge of Life is an insightful and welcome contribution … .” (Kevin E. Miller, The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Autumn, 2008)