Beneficence and Health Care

  • Earl E. Shelp

Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 11)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Historical and Conceptual Background

    1. Front Matter
      Pages ins1-ins1
    2. Darrel W. Amundsen, Gary B. Ferngren
      Pages 1-31
    3. Allen E. Buchanan
      Pages 33-62
    4. William K. Frankena
      Pages 63-81
    5. John P. Reeder Jr.
      Pages 83-108
  3. Beneficence in Religious Ethics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages ins3-ins3
    2. Ronald M. Green
      Pages 109-125
    3. William E. May
      Pages 127-151
    4. Harmon L. Smith
      Pages 153-182
  4. Beneficence in Health Care

    1. Front Matter
      Pages ins5-ins5
    2. Natalie Abrams
      Pages 183-198
    3. Ronald M. Green
      Pages 239-254
    4. Earl E. Shelp
      Pages 255-256
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 257-264

About this book


The meaning and application of the principle of beneficence to issues in health care is rarely clear or certain. Although the principle is frequently employed to justify a variety of actions and inactions, very little has been done from a conceptual point of view to test its relevance to these behaviors or to explore its relationship to other moral principles that also might be called upon to guide or justify conduct. Perhaps more than any other, the principle of benef­ icence seems particularly appropriate to contexts of health care in which two or more parties interact from positions of relative strength and weakness, advantage and need, to pursue some perceived goal. It is among those moral principles that Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress selected in their textbook on bioethics as applicable to biomedicine in general and relevant to a range of specific issues ([1], pp. 135-167). More narrowly, The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behav­ ioral Research identified beneficence as among those moral principles that have particular relevance to the conduct of research involving humans (2). Thus, the principle of beneficence is seen as pertinent to the routine delivery of health care, the discovery of new therapies, and the rationale of public policies related to health care.


Catholic ethics beneficence ethics health health policy

Editors and affiliations

  • Earl E. Shelp
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of ReligionHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1982
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-009-7771-6
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-7769-3
  • Series Print ISSN 0376-7418
  • Buy this book on publisher's site