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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $116.99

360 pp.
8" x 10"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

Bioethics in Canada

Second Edition

Edited by Charles Weijer and Anthony Skelton

The most accessible Canadian bioethics text that clearly demonstrates the process of moral reasoning through a breadth of expertly chosen readings

This comprehensive introduction to bioethical issues emphasizes Canadian policies, issues, and scholars. Using the human lifespan as an organizing narrative, Bioethics in Canada explores ethical theories through a diverse selection of readings discussing traditional and cutting-edge topics in the field.

Readership : Second- and third-year courses out of Philosophy departments at university and college level.


  • "This book is a comprehensive overview of the key issues in bioethics. It covers a wide range of topic including classical topics (e.g. abortion, patient rights, etc.) and new, emerging topics, such as global health inequalities and new technologies."
    --Elena Neiterman, University of Waterloo

  • "Without exception, Bioethics in Canada is the best curated, most topically complete, accessible, and engaging bioethics textbook available. It demonstrates how one can think through difficult moral issues by showing how it is done by some of the best thinkers in the field."
    --Diane Gall, Medicine Hat College

  • "Bioethics in Canada nicely condenses a wide range of readings on central topics in the Bioethics literature - it is appropriate for students new to philosophy, but suitably challenging that intermediate students should still find the readings relevant. Its focus on the Canadian context gives it a huge advantage over other similar texts for those of us teaching at a Canadian institution."
    --Joshua Brandt, University of Toronto

Note: Every chapter includes:
- Editor Introduction
- Chapter Study Questions
- Critical Analysis
- Case Studies
- Further Reading
- Credits
About the Authors
1. Conception and Embryos
(1) The Moral Status of Stem Cells, Agata Sagan and Peter Singer
(2) The Ethical Case against Stem Cell Research, Soren Holm
(3) Feminists on the Inalienability of Human Embryos, Carolyn McLeod and Francoise Baylis
2. Fetuses
(1) Why Abortion is Immoral, Don Marquis
(2) A Third Way, L. Wayne Sumner
(3) Abortion, Intimacy, and the Duty to Gestate, Margaret Olivia Little
3. Procreation and Child Rearing
(1) Procreative Beneficence: Why We Should Select the Best Children, Julian Savulescu
(2) "Healthy" Human Embryos and Symbolic Harm, Elizabeth Gedge
(3) Measuring Mothering, Rebecca Kukla
4. Adults and Decision Making
(1) Deciding for Others Allan Buchanan, and Dan W. Brock
(2) A Moral Theory of Informed Consent, Benjamin Freedman
(3) ICU Psychosis and Patient Autonomy: Some Thoughts from the Inside, Cheryl Misak
5. Conflict about Appropriate Treatment
(1) Medical Futility: Its Meaning and Ethical Implications, Lawrence J. Schneiderman, Nancy S. Jecker and Albert R. Jonsen
(2) The Problem with Futility, Robert D. Truog, Allan S. Brett and Joel Frader
(3) Dealing with Demands for Inappropriate Treatment, Charles Weijer, Peter A. Singer, Bernard M. Dickens and Stephen Workman
6. Equipoise and Clinical Research
(1) Equipoise and the Ethics of Clinical Research, Benjamin Freedman
(2) A Critique of Clinical Equipoise: Therapeutic Misconception in the Ethics of Clinical Trials, Franklin G. Miller and Howard Brody
(3) Trust-Based Obligations of the State and Physician-Researchers to Patient-Subjects, Paul B. Miller and Charles Weijer
7. Justifying Access to Health Care
(1) An Ethical Framework for Access to Health Care, President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research
(2) The Medical Minimum: Zero, Jan Narveson
(3) Health Care as a Commodity, Joseph Heath
8. Obligations to the Global Poor
(1) The Life You Can Save, Peter Singer
(2) "Sometimes There Is Nothing Wrong with Letting a Child Drown," Travis Timmerman (NEW)
(3) Relational Solidarity and Climate Change in Western Nations, Michael D. Doan and Susan Sherwin (NEW)
9. Medical Assistance in Dying
(1) The Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel: End-of-Life Decision Making, Udo Schuklenk, Johannes J.M. van Delden, Joceyln Downie, Sheila McLean, Ross Upshur, and Daniel Weinstock
(2) The Conflict between Open-Ended Access to Physician-Assisted Dying and the Protection of the Vulnerable: Lessons from Belgium's Euthanasia Regime for the Canadian Post-Carter Era, Trudo Lemmens (NEW)
(3) A Feminist Exploration of Issues around Assisted Death, Jocelyn Downie and Susan Sherwin
10. Defining Death
(1) What is Death? The Crisis of Criteria, Louis P. Pojman
(2) Does Anyone Survive Neocortical Death? Roland Puccetti
(3) Re-examining Death: The Asymptotic Model and a Bounded Zone Definition, Linda L. Emanuel
11. Harvesting Organs from the Dead
(1) Routine Recovery of Cadaveric Organs for Transplantation: Consistent, Fair, and Life-Saving, Aaron Spital and James Stacey Taylor
(2) Do the Sick Have a Right to Cadaveric Organs? Walter Glannon
(3) An Ethical Market in Human Organs, Charles A. Erin and John Harris
12. What Is Disease?
(1) On the Distinction between Disease and Illness, Christopher Boorse
(2) Madness: Biological or Constructed? Ian Hacking
(3) Menopause: Taking the Cures or Curing the Takes? Joan C. Callahan
(1) Pursued by Happiness and Beaten Senseless: Prozac and the American Dream, Carl Elliott
(2) The Valorization of Sadness: Alienation and the Melancholic Temperament, Peter D. Kramer
(3) Psychopharmacological Enhancement, Walter Glannon
14. Emerging Genetic Technologies (NEW)
(1) Genome Editing: An Ethical Review, Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NEW)
(2) The CRISPR Moment: Editing Human DNA the Way We Edit Text - Are We Ready? Francoise Baylis and Janet Rossant (NEW)
(3) The Ethics of Germline Gene Editing, Christopher Gyngell, Thomas Douglas, and Julian Savulescu (NEW)
15. Public Health
(1) Provinces Divided over Mandatory Vaccination for School Children, Karen Born, Vera Yiu, and Terrence Sullivan (NEW)
(2) A Libertarian Case for Mandatory Vaccination, Jason Brennan (NEW)
(3) The Ethics of Vaccination Nudges in Pediatric Practice, M.C. Navin (NEW)
16. Indigenous Peoples' Health (NEW)
(1) Racism, Sexism, and Colonialism: The Impact on the Health of Aboriginal Women in Canada, Carrie Bourassa, Kim McKay-McNabb, and Mary Hampton (NEW)
(2) Caring for Aboriginal Patients Requires Trust and Respect, Not Courtrooms, Lisa Richardson and Matthew B. Stanbrook (NEW)
(3) Caring for Children, Focusing on Children, Ian Mitchell, Juliet R. Guichoin, and Sam Wong (NEW)
17. Justice, Sexual Minorities, and Health Care
(1) Uneasy Promises: Sexuality, Health, and Human Rights, Alice M. Miller
(2) "I Don't Think This Is Theoretical; This Is Our Lives": How Erasure Impacts Health Care for Transgender People, Greta R. Bauer, Rebecca Hammond, Robb Travers, Matthias Kaay, Karin M. Hohenadel, and Michelle Boyce
(3) Discomfort, Judgment, and Health Care for Queers, Ami Harbin, Brenda Beagan, and Lisa Goldberg
18. Research on Non-human Animals
(1) The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research, Carl Cohen
(2) The Rights of Humans and Other Animals, Tom Regan
(3) Animal Welfare and Animals Rights, L. Wayne. Sumner

Looseleaf ISBN 9780199034680

Charles Weijer is a professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Medicine, and he holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Bioethics at Western University. He co-founded the Rotman Institute of Philosophy and served as its first director. He is a world-leading expert in research ethics, and in 2016 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Anthony Skelton is associate professor and member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He specializes in ethics and the history of ethics. His articles have appeared in Ethics, Journal of Global Ethics, Journal of the History of Philosophy, and Utilitas. He is currently working on a series of papers (with Lisa Forsberg and Isra Black) on adolescent refusals of life-prolonging medical treatment and on a book manuscript on Henry Sidgwick.

Writing Philosophy - Lewis Vaughn and Jillian Scott McIntosh
Biomedical Ethics - Edited by Johnna Fisher, J. S. Russell, Alister Browne and Leslie Burkholder
Bioethics - Lewis Vaughn
Doing Right - Philip C. Hebert and Wayne Rosen
Principles of Biomedical Ethics - Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress
Biomedical Ethics - Walter Glannon
Contemporary Bioethics - Jessica Pierce and George Randels

Special Features

  • Over 50 provocative readings by leading researchers and philosophers offer students a comprehensive and captivating introduction to complex bioethical issues.
  • Readings emphasize Canadian policies, issues, and scholarship giving Canadian students a relevant introduction to bioethics.
  • Designed for one-semester courses while still allowing for flexibility with topic choices, the core chapters (Chs. 1-11) can be taught in conjunction with any of the seven supplemental chapters.
  • Narrative follows the human lifespan, focusing on the most pressing bioethical problems that arise between conception and death.
  • Chapters juxtapose articles with opposing arguments, encouraging students to actively participate in the process of ethical reasoning by evaluating each argument in context.
  • Extensive pedagogy throughout, including case studies, study questions, and suggestions for further reading, support students in comparing, analyzing, and formulating their own opinions.
New to this Edition
  • Two new chapters on the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada to self-determination in health care (Ch. 16) and emerging genetic technologies (Ch. 14) expose students to highly debated current issues in the field.
  • New case studies in every chapter explore topics directly related to issues being discussed, making the readings more accessible and encouraging student engagement with the text.
  • Newly added list of ethical issues at the beginning of every chapter inform and guide students' readings of topics addressed within each chapter.
  • 12 new readings on timely topics such as the use of human embryos in research, obligations to the global poor, climate change, medically-assisted suicide, vaccination of children, and equitable access to health care.