Principles of Biomedical Ethics

Principles of Biomedical Ethics
8th Ed.
2019 © Oxford University Press
Tom L. Beauchamp; James F. Childress
ISBN-13: 978-0-19-064087-3
eISBN-13: 978-0-19-064089-7
Ethics, Basic Sciences, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Health Education


Principles of Biomedical Ethics provides a highly original, practical, and insightful guide to morality in the health professions. Acclaimed authors Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress thoroughly develop and advocate for four principles that lie at the core of moral reasoning in health care: respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice. Drawing from contemporary research--and integrating detailed case studies and vivid real-life examples and scenarios--they demonstrate how these prima facie principles can be expanded to apply to various conflicts and dilemmas, from how to deliver bad news to whether or not to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments.

Ideal for courses in biomedical ethics, bioethics, and health care ethics, the text is enhanced by hundreds of annotated citations and a substantial introduction that clarifies key terms and concepts.

New to this Edition

  • • Revisions throughout sharpen arguments, address recent issues raised by critics, and discuss and assess newly published material
  • • An expanded presentation on informed consent in Chapter 4
  • • Extended discussions of non-treatment, uses of the best-interest standard, quality-of-life decisions involving newborns and children, and physician-assisted dying in Chapter 5
  • • More in-depth coverage of theories of justice, problems of health insurance coverage, and the right to health care in Chapter 7
  • • Expanded sections on veracity and confidentiality, along with new cases, in Chapter 8
  • • More extensive sections on virtue theory and rights theory in Chapter 9
  • • Expanded critiques of the theories of justification in Chapter 10

Doody's Reviews

Doody's Core Titles (DCT)
Essential Purchase Title (EPT)
Specialty Score: 2.4 Health Sciences - Medical Ethics
Go to Doody's Review page

Quotes, Reviews or Testimonials

"By engaging critics of principlism, this edition is a critical book for the field of bioethics. Although each subsequent edition seems to expand the reach of principlism, this one represents both an expansion as well as a tightening of the overall theory."

-- Tyler Gibb, JD, PhD(c) (UCLA Health Ethics Center) Doody's Review - previous edition


This book is critical, from both a historical and a developmental perspective, to understanding bioethics. Thus, bioethicists and students of bioethics, as well as healthcare professionals and members of ethics committees, should carefully read this book. Any understanding of bioethics would be insufficient without an appreciation and understanding of the moral framework this book establishes. In addition to being a foundational text, it is a valuable tool for teaching bioethics and ethical decision-making in the classroom.

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