New Knowledge in the Biomedical Sciences

Some Moral Implications of Its Acquisition, Possession, and Use

  • William B. Bondeson
  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr
  • Stuart F. Spicker
  • Joseph M. WhiteJr

Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 10)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. The Physician as Moral Arbiter

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Samuel Gorovitz
      Pages 23-31
  3. The Costs of New Knowledge

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 33-33
    2. Richard M. Zaner
      Pages 47-52
  4. Costs, Benefits, and the Responsibilities of Medical Science

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 53-53
    2. Mary Crenshaw Rawlinson
      Pages 87-102
  5. Biomedical Knowledge: Libertarian vs. Socialist Models

  6. Biomedical Ethics and Advances in Biomedical Science

  7. Conclusions and Reflections: Present and Future Problems

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 177-177
    2. H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr.
      Pages 179-183
    3. Mary Ann Gardell
      Pages 193-197
    4. H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr.
      Pages 217-220
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 219-225

About this book


The spectacular development of medical knowledge over the last two centuries has brought intrusive advances in the capabilities of medical technology. These advances have been remarkable over the last century, but especially over the last few decades, culminating in such high technology interventions as heart transplants and renal dialysis. These increases in medical powers have attracted societal interest in acquiring more such knowledge. They have also spawned concerns regarding the use of human subjects in research and regarding the byproducts of basic research as in the recent recombinant DNA debate. As a consequence of the development of new biomedical knowledge, physicians and biomedical scientists have been placed in positions of new power and responsibility. The emergence of this group of powerful and knowledgeable experts has occasioned debates regarding the accountability of physicians and biomedical scientists. But beyond that, the very investment of resources in the acquisition of new knowledge has been questioned. Societies must decide whether finite resources would not be better invested at this juncture, or in general, in the alleviation of the problems of hunger or in raising general health standards through interventions which are less dependent on the intensive use of high technology. To put issues in this fashion touches on philosophical notions concerning the claims of distributive justice and the ownership of biomedical knowledge.


Biomedical ethics Medical Ethics ethical theory ethics health morality

Editors and affiliations

  • William B. Bondeson
    • 1
  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr
    • 2
  • Stuart F. Spicker
    • 3
  • Joseph M. WhiteJr
    • 4
  1. 1.University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Kennedy Institute of EthicsGeorgetown UniversityWashington, D.C.USA
  3. 3.University of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA
  4. 4.St. Paul HospitalDallasUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1982
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-009-7725-9
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-7723-5
  • Series Print ISSN 0376-7418
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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